Novelists Emmanuel Iduma & Ayobami Adebayo Are Married, Share Love Letters

Iduma revealed their relationship in a beautiful letter on Instagram: “I should begin with how long I’ve loved you, to what extent, and with what intensity.”
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Ayobami Adebayo and Emmanuel Iduma. From @emmaiduma on Instagram.

Ayobami Adebayo and Emmanuel Iduma. From @emmaiduma on Instagram.

Emmanuel Iduma has written love letters on Instagram to fellow novelist Ayobami Adebayo, revealing their marriage and sharing wedding photos. The two met at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria, where Iduma studied law and Adebayo was a literature student. It was in the same university that Iduma co-founded Saraba with the poet Dami Ajayi, and Adebayo became one of the magazine’s editors.

“I should begin with how long I’ve loved you, to what extent, and with what intensity,” Iduma wrote in the first letter yesterday. “Throughout the weeks we attended rehearsals as members of a choir, there were initial encounters. But none was as decisive as when, sitting alone at the back of the theatre on the last day of the music festival, you said to me, ‘I am also a writer.’”

Iduma, 32, is the author of the novel Farad and the travelogue A Stranger’s Pose. Adebayo, who turns 33 tomorrow, 29 January, is the author of Stay with Me, which was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2017.

This evening, Iduma shared a second letter.

“In the first month, when the reverb of our vows had yet to still into a steady hum, I often woke with a rush of astonishment,” he wrote. “It was becoming habitual to mutter ‘my wife’ when I thought of you; the welcome finality of those words. The language of my desire, as well as its appeal, had been transformed. And now, several months later, it is as if, with you, marriage is a marvelous sequence of clarifying moments.”

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UPDATE

Emmanuel Iduma posted a third letter on 30 January, Ayobami Adebayo’s 33rd birthday: three letters in three days.

“What I long for, throughout the unbroken length of our days, is the pleasure of looking at your face,” he wrote. “Maybe that sounds mawkish, but I’ll withdraw no sentiment from these declarations. How within your beauty shall my desire hold a plea?”

We at Open Country Mag are sending them our best wishes.

Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young, a writer, culture journalist, curator, and media consultant, is the founder and editor of Open Country Mag. He was editor of Folio Nigeria, CNN’s exclusive media affiliate in Africa, and has led or joined editorial teams at a host of platforms and projects in African literature. He has written about the Nigerian culture scene, covering innovation in over 20 fields including art, music, tech, sports, cuisine, fashion, journalism, sculpture, beauty, health, and activism. In literature, his Profile subjects have included Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teju Cole, Damon Galgut, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and Maaza Mengiste. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He sat on the judging panel of The Morland Scholarship, a British grant for African writers, and currently chairs the panel of The Gerald Kraak Prize, a South African initiative for storytelling about gender, sexuality, and social justice. He has an MA in African Studies and a BA in English and History from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He is currently studying for an MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 2019, he received the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among “The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians” by Avance Media. Twitter & Instagram: @otosirieze. Website: otosirieze.com.

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