Ayòbámi Adébáyò on how living with sickle cell disease inspired her bestselling debut

Stay With Me has put her on the pages of Vogue and now the Wellcome prize shortlist. She talks about dating and growing up in a turbulent Nigeria

It has been quite a year for Ayòbámi Adébáyò. She is in London for International Women’s Day, as she was last year, when it was announced that her first novel had been longlisted for the Baileys prize. Stay With Me went on to make the shortlist and is now up for the Wellcome prize, the winner of which will be announced later this month. The novel was glowingly reviewed, not least by the New York Times’s high priestess Michiko Kakutani (“stunning”, “powerfully magnetic and heartbreaking”); Sarah Jessica Parker chose it for the American Library’s book club; and the author, who has just turned 30, has been interviewed in both the Paris Review and Vogue. When we meet, she has come from the ...