Ordinary Wonder

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An extraordinary literary debut from a Nigerian-born author about a boy's secret intersex identity and his desire to live as a girl

An Ordinary Wonder is a story of the courage needed to be yourself.


When fourteen-year-old Oto starts at a boarding school and falls in love with his roommate, fear of shame forces him to hide his love and true self.

Back home, weighed down by the expectations of their wealthy and powerful family, the love of Oto's twin sister wavers, causing Oto to make drastic choices that will alter the family's lives for ever.

Richly imagined with art and folk tales, this moving and modern novel follows Oto through life at home and at boarding school in Nigeria, through the heartbreak of living as a boy despite their profound belief they are a girl, and through a hunger for freedom that only a new life in the United States can offer.

An Ordinary Wonder is a powerful coming-of-age story that explores complex desires as well as challenges of family, identity, gender and culture, and what it means to feel whole.

About the Author

Buki Papillon was born in Nigeria, the oldest of six. After studying law at Hull University in the UK, she completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has received several fellowships and awards for her writing and is an alumnus of Key West Literary, Vermont Studio Centre and Vona Voices residencies and workshops. Her work was published in Post Road Magazine and the Del Sol Review. She has in the past been a travel adviser, events host and chef. Buki currently lives in Boston, USA, where she is resigned to finding inspiration in the long winters.