How a 21-year-old Nigerian student made a million dollars by accident

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When Faridah bké-ymdé, a Nigerian student, was 21 years old, a joyful accident occurred, and her life was entirely turned around.


Faridah bké-ymdé was only 19 years old when she visited London four years ago. She was a broke college student in Aberdeen studying English, Chinese, and Anthropology.

She began watching a lot of television during this time, one of which was the American television show Gossip Girl. Faridah claims that

I was in my first year of university and didn’t have many friends because I don’t drink because I’m a Muslim, so I’d be stuck in my room, unsure what to do.

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I was binge-watching a lot of TV shows at the time, and I finished Gossip Girl in a matter of days. I absolutely enjoyed it, although I was disappointed that there weren’t many individuals in it that looked like me.

I thought it would be fantastic if the shows I grew up watching, such as Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, featured more black characters, so I devised a plot.

During the day, I’d go to uni, then come home and write till 4 a.m. I attended to a working-class school in south London, where we all came from the same socioeconomic background and where the majority of the students were black or Asian.

So writing was a kind of a fantasy for me since I was imagining what extreme prosperity would look like.

Faridah wanted to see stories about individuals who looked like her, so she decided to write one herself.

She began writing a narrative about Devon, a gifted musician, and Chiamaka, the head girl, who are the only two Black pupils at Niveus Private Academy, a predominantly white school.

Faridah decided the novel would be a thriller, and after a few months of writing, she had completed Ace of Spades, a whole story.

After finishing the novel, she decided to attempt selling it to anyone who might be interested, and in 2018, she was able to secure an agent and a UK book deal.

Ace of Spades was sent out to the US two years later, after substantial work on the book, and publishing giant Macmillan scooped it up for a whopping SEVEN FIGURES, that is, at least ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

That simple desire to write a story about people who looked like her blossomed into a book that earned the author a one-million-dollar advance.

What an extraordinarily fortunate occurrence! What if she had never gotten upset while watching that show, or if she had never seen it at all?

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About the Author: Cleopatra Adeoye

Mass Communication Student, Federal University, Oye Ekiti and Content Creation Specialist. Join me on Twitter.

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