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Lokko, Lesley 1964-

Lokko, Lesley 1964-

(Lesley Naa Norle Lokko)

PERSONAL: Born 1964, in Dundee, Scotland; daughter of a surgeon father. Education: Attended Oxford University; Bartlett School of Architecture, B.Sc., 1992, Diploma in Architecture, 1995; University of London, Ph.D., 2007.

ADDRESSES: Home— Accra, Ghana, and London, England. Agent— Christine Green, 6 Whitehorse Mews, Westminster Bridge Rd., London SE1 7QD, England.

CAREER: Architect, educator, and writer. Taught at Bartlett School of Architecture, London Metropolitan University, Kingston University, Iowa State University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and University of Capetown; currently visiting professor at Westminster University.

WRITINGS

NOVELS

Sundowners, Orion (London, England), 2003.

Saffron Skies, Orion (London, England), 2005, St. Martin’s Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Bitter Chocolate, Orion (London, England), 2007.

NONFICTION

(Editor and contributor) White Papers, Black Marks: Architecture, Race, Culture, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2000.

Contributor to periodicals, including the Guardian.

SIDELIGHTS: Lesley Lokko, a writer, educator, and architect, is the author of several of popular romance novels, including Sundowners and Saffron Skies. Lokko, who was born in Scotland and grew up in Ghana, made her publishing debut in 2000, serving as the editor for White Papers, Black Marks: Architecture, Race, Culture, a work that examines how racial ideology affects architectural design. “I’ve tried to argue that architecture is not just a technical discipline, it’s also a cultural discipline, and issues of history, identity and migration are very much part of the culture,” she told Susan Mansfield in the Scotsman.“Different cultures look at space, surface, line, beauty, and have different ways of understanding them. I’m interested in trying to make a space where students can explore these things.”

Between 1992 and 1994, Lokko worked as an architect in South Africa, where she was inspired to try her hand at fiction. More than a decade later, she published Sundowners, “a big, glamorous doorstop of a book full of designer labels and luxury houses in the mould of the 1980s blockbusters by Jackie Collins or Judith Krantz,” Mansfield observed. Set against the backdrop of the apartheid era in South Africa, the work follows the lives of four women over a span of twenty years. According to Pamela Buxton in Building Design, the novel “is bursting with inflamed passions but it’s certainly more than mere chick-lit—as well as following the romantic fortunes of the protagonists, the novel’s backbone is South African politics and human rights.” In Lokko’s family saga Saffron Skies, a young woman tries to win the love and approval of her wealthy, globe-trotting father. A Kirkus Reviews reviewer called Saffron Skies“a family saga spanning three continents and 30 years,” that is “ultimately satisfying.”

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES

PERIODICALS

Architectural Review, April, 2003, Edward Robbins, review of White Papers, Black Marks: Architecture, Race, Culture, p. 94.

Building Design, January 30, 2004, Pamela Buxton, “Sections and Shopping,” interview with Lesley Lokko, p. 18.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2006, review of Saffron Skies, p. 868.

Publishers Weekly, September 11, 2006, review of Saffron Skies, p. 36.

Scotsman, November 11, 2004, Susan Mansfield, “Meet the Scottish Jackie Collins.”

ONLINE

Orion Books Web site, http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/ (December 12, 2006), “Lesley Lokko Talks to Danuta Kean about How to Write a Blockbuster.”

Trashionista Web site, http://www.trashionista.com/ (January 12, 2007), review of Sundowners.

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