Young, Gifted, and Valid: Chibundu Onuzo, Author of novel "The Spider King's Daughter"

Chibundu Onuzo: She signed her first book deal at 19, becoming the youngest female author to sign to publishing giant Faber & Faber.

Quite a few people were strangely hostile to the idea of me writing a novel at 17.

Either they were derisive, ‘You don’t know anything. What do you have to write about?’ Or they were dismissive, ‘Teenage novels are no good.’ Or they were concerned at what they saw as arrogant ambition, verging on hubris. ‘Focus on your studies. You don’t have enough experience,’ a well-meaning relative once said. No matter the tone, the message was the same.

I was too young, too inexperienced and too green to write anything worth reading.

In one way they were right of course. I was inexperienced and I was young and I didn’t know much about the world. It is good for teenagers to be reminded of these facts. There is nothing more insufferable than a teenager who believes she has seen it all, whose curiosity has calcified into a posed cynicism and who has a knowing manner about things she cannot possibly know anything about.

Read more: Young, Gifted and Valid | Chibundu Onuzo.