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Spotlight On: Yomi Adegoke

By Leanne Francis, Ho Jia Wen, Michelle Ye and Yumna Iqbal

There is no doubt that Yomi Adegoke is a trailblazer, pioneering change for Black British writers in an otherwise inaccessible media landscape. Given the meteoric success of The List, her debut novel, it’s clear that Yomi Adegoke is destined for much greater things. In this article we look at her published novels and upcoming projects, and celebrate her career so far.

Who is Yomi Adegoke?

Yomi Adegoke, a multi-award-winning British-Nigerian author and journalist from Croydon, is a columnist for various publications, including British Vogue, The Guardian and The Independent. In her day-to-day job, Adegoke writes columns about feminism, race and popular culture, using her platform to advocate for greater diversity, inclusion and accurate representation in mainstream media.

Adegoke, a University of Warwick Law graduate, previously worked at Channel 4 News and is the former host of the Women’s Prize for Fiction podcast. In 2021 she was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. In conversation with Taylor Mirkarimi, Yomi Adegoke discussed the challenges she faced as one of only a few Black women in the journalism industry. She noticed how the industry felt inaccessible and realised the importance of creating authentic representation for an underserved demographic. As a result of her unique experience in the media industry, the novel Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible, which she co-authored with Elizabeth Uviebinené, was published.

Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible

This was Adegoke’s first book, born from the frustration of navigating the world as a Black British woman.

“As we started our research we found that there was no literature on how to thrive in different contexts as black British woman...we wanted to give voices to black British women who are doing amazing things, but weren’t necessarily as visible as they would be if they were white women,” said Adegoke in an interview with Grazia.

Interestingly, the catchphrase “Slay In Your Lane” was Uviebinené’s enthusiastic text message to Adegoke in reaction to Solange Knowles' picture from fashion week. Recent grads and best friends, Adegoke and Uviebinené immediately decided that it would be the title of their book. Being young Black women trying to succeed in a society often pitted against them, they wanted to create a guide specifically for Black British women to navigate racial stereotypes and push beyond expectations.

Over the next few years, they interviewed 39 successful Black British women in different industries such as Clara Amfo, Malorie Blackman and Amma Asante. As a result, the book became a Black girl’s Bible to every aspect of a Black woman’s life: work, health, family, relationships and finances. The book made such a big impact that it became a movement. Adegoke and Uviebinené wrote a follow-up book and started a podcast, engaging and teaching more Black women to Slay In Your Lane.

Other Works

Loud Black Girls

Published on the first of October 2020 by HarperCollins Publishers, Yomi and fellow writer Elizabeth Uviebinené come together to ask: “What’s next?” for Black women, regarding how to live and move forward in today’s society. Written after the acclaimed Slay in Your Lane, Adegoke asks 20 Black British women what's in store for them in the future. With insight from journalists, artists, activists and more, Adegoke and Uviebinené explore topics ranging from the cultural impact of films such as Black Panther, to how Black British individuals can stay true to themselves. With a foreword written by the amazing Bernadine Evaristo (author of Girl, Woman, Other), this book is a must-read.

The Offline Diaries

The infamous duo strikes again with a beautiful work of fiction which Jacqueline Wilson describes as “a fresh and lively story about friendship.” Published in 2022, the book follows the story of Ade, a young girl who has to start a new school when her stepdad moves them after the death of her mother. She spends the majority of her time at her dad’s hair salon, where she meets Shanice. After discovering each others’ similar diaries, an instant connection is felt and the two start chatting online. However, offline is a whole other adventure!

The List – her official debut novel

Adegoke’s debut novel, The List, was published in October 2023 and is already being developed as a TV show by HBO Max, BBC and A24. Not only was it a Sunday Times Top 5 Bestseller in its second week, but it was also a Good Morning America’s Book Club pick, and was recommended by The New York Times.

The novel follows Ola Olajide, who has everything one might dream for in every aspect of her life. She is a successful journalist for the feminist magazine Womxxxn and is counting the days until she can marry the man she loves. But this picturesque tableau is shattered by the release of The List, a viral post that accuses her fiancée, Michael, among others, of sexual misconduct. Olajide is flooded by uncertainty and hounded by questions of who to believe, what to do next, and what her reactions reveal about herself.

The social media landscape that Olajide once thrived in transforms into a place of punishment. The List, and by extension, the Internet, becomes its own character as the anonymity it affords is weaponised and it leaves behind its virtual boundaries to wreak havoc on Olajide’s life. The novel juggles the voices of both Ola and Michael as Adegoke works to blur black-and-white boundaries and acknowledge the grey area of social media.


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