My name is Dami Ajayi. I studied medicine and surgery in Nigeria. I trained in psychiatry at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos. I am a member of the West African College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
My first volume of poems, Clinical Blues (Write House, 2014), was shortlisted for the inaugural Melita Hume Prize in 2012 in manuscript form. It was also longlisted for the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature in 2017 and named First Runner Up for Association of Nigerian Authors Prize in 2015.
My second volume, A Woman’s Body is a Country (Ouida Books, 2017), was a finalist of the Glenna Luschei Prize in 2018. Bernadine Evaristo, the prize judge, remarked about me, “A dexterous and versatile poet who flexes his linguistic muscles with surprising revelations that offer new perspectives as he illuminates the slips between memory and desire, family, community, and place.”
My third book, Affection & Other Accidents (Radi8, 2022), was named the bestselling book of poems in 2022 by Open Magazine and Roving Heights Bookshop, Nigeria. It was also named as the best poetry collection at the Port Harcourt Poetry Festival in 2023.
I curated and co-edited Limbe to Lagos: Creative Non-fiction from Nigeria and Cameroon, published in Africa and North America, and praised by Ellah Wakatama as being “at the forefront of a wave of African non-fiction writing – an area that has long lacked representation.”
My fiction has appeared online in ITCH magazine, Kalahari Review, AFREADA, Brittle Paper, and in print anthologies Gambit: Newer African Writing and Songhai 12: New Voices of Nigerian Literature.
I have written about music consistently since 2007. What initially began as an opportunity to explore a non-literary interest has become a passion for music writing, particularly for Afrobeats, a genre of music that developed as I came of age.
I was hired as the music critic by OlisaTV magazine and wrote weekly music reviews and feature articles from 2014 to 2016. Then I was headhunted to write “The Good Doctor,” a weekly column on music for the culture blog, This is Lagos, from 2017 to 2019. I co-founded an online culture magazine, The Lagos Review, in 2019 and until recently served as an editor.
My essays and commentary on music and culture have appeared in the Africa Report, Chimurenga Chronic, Afropolitan Vibes Magazine, Lost in Lagos Magazine, Global Voices, Music in Africa, The Republic, The Elephant and elsewhere.
I have been consulted for music writing in feature articles in the Financial Times, African Arguments, Al Jazeera, The World and Weekendavisen.