Architect, Academic, Novelist
Accra, Johannesburg, London
LESLEY LOKKO is an architect, academic and the author of eight best-selling novels. She studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, University College London, graduating in 1995 with a BSc(Arch) and DipArch, before going on to gain her PhD from the University of London in 2007.
She has taught a numerous schools of architecture in the US (Iowa State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago); the UK (Bartlett School of Architecture, Kingston University, London Metropolitan University and the University of Greenwich), as well as South Africa, where she was Visiting African Scholar at the University of Cape Town. She was the Martin Luther King Visiting Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan and has, since 2004, been Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster. In 2000, she edited White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Culture, Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) and since then, has ben an on-going contributor to discourses around identity, race, African urbanism and the speculative nature of African architectural space and practice. She was a founding member of ThirdSpace, a UK-based collective that researched the relationship between architecture, globalisation and cultural identity, and was a co-founder of the current MArch programme at the University of Westminster, Architecture, Cultural Identity and Globalisation (MACIG). She is an active participant in the UCT-funded Centre for the Study of African Cities, and is a regular juror at international competitions and symposia, most recently at EUROPAN (Vienna 2009); Blueprints of Paradise (Amsterdam 2012) and ArchiPRIX International (Moscow 2013).
In 2004, she made the successful transition from academic to novelist with the publication of her first novel, Sundowners (Orion 2004), a UK-Guardian top forty best-seller, and has since then followed with eight further best-sellers, which have been translated in fifteen languages. For over a decade, she has juggled two very different careers simultaneously, though not always smoothly.