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Graduate Defense: Ayotola Tehingbola

March 5 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Thesis Defense

Thesis Information

Title: Lagos Will Be Hard For You

Program: Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Advisor: Mitch Wieland, M.F.A., Theatre, Film, and Creative Writing

Committee Members: Nicole Cullen, M.F.A., Creative Writing and Dr. Sandina Begic, Public and Population Health


Lagos Will Be Hard For You is a collection of short stories. The genre is literary fiction and it is about 40,000 words. Two of these stories, The Water Is Not The Faucet and You Are Still Here have appeared in Witness Magazine and Hawai`i Pacific Review.

An almost-blind mother pawns her daughter off to save her. A grieving son must bury his Muslim father in twenty-four hours in the thick of winter. A doctor battles to save her partner from himself. Desperation makes a young businesswoman seek out a spiritual experience. Domi(natrix) wants to give life to her sexual kinks in her repressive household. The weight of the word “slave” is put to the test during a first date in conservative Idaho.

These stories are an unflinching excavation of what it means to be at the labyrinthine crossroads of desire, ambition, and tradition. I explore the indelible erasure of personhood and fitting into all the hard places in a bubble where injustice reigns. I aim to fillet the flesh as these characters try to exercise autonomy in their worlds and swim against the uncontrollable tides that mold their lives. My characters are forced out of their stasis, and the collection contemplates whether they succeed or fail.

Comparable titles are Come to Me by Amy Bloom, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories by Jamil Jan Kochai, and Manchester Happened by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.