Looking for Transwonderland

Travels in Nigeria

Noo Saro-Wiwa

Published: 3 January 2013
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 320 pages
ISBN: 9781847083319


Noo Saro-Wiwa was brought up in England but spent her childhood summers in Nigeria - a country she considered an unglamorous parallel universe, devoid of all creature comforts. After her father, activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, was murdered there in 1995, Noo rarely returned to the land of her birth. More than a decade later, she decided to come to terms with Nigeria. From the exuberant chaos of Lagos, to the calm beauty of the eastern mountains; the eccentricity of a Nigerian dog show to the empty Transwonderland Amusement Park, Noo combines travelogue with an exploration of corruption, identity and religion.

Looking for Transwonderland is the first major non-fiction narrative of modern Nigeria; an engaging portrait of a country whose beauty and variety few of us will experience, depicted with wit and insight by a refreshing new voice in contemporary travel writing.

About the author

Image of Noo Saro-Wiwa

NOO SARO-WIWA was born in Nigeria in 1976 and raised in England. She attended King's College London and Columbia University in New York and has written travel guides for Rough Guide and Lonely Planet. She currently lives in London. Looking for Transwonderland was shortlisted for the 2013 Authors' Club Dolman Travel Book of the Year award. More about the author


‘An affectionate and irreverent guide to a place far from the beaten tourist track... Saro-Wiwa peels away many of the clichés that envelop Nigeria and reveals both the beauty and brutality of this slumbering superpower’



‘Brims with humour and humanity’ Stephen Bleach, Books of the Year

‘Funny, tragic, warm, wonderfully written... Saro-Wiwa is her father's real heir - a wonderful storyteller and observer, whose compassion, keen eye and honesty shine through the book’ Binyavanga Wainaina

‘Hands up those of you who are planning to go to Nigeria on your next trip. Me neither ... But after reading Looking for Transwonderland I'm thinking of changing my plans ... As she travels through the country Saro-Wiwa is won over by the tolerance, humour and resilience of Nigerians’ Peter Moore

‘Her gifts lie in her keen eye for the sights, sounds, souls and insanities of contemporary Nigeria, and in her ability to recreate these. The book is a breathless chronicle of diversity... Her encounters are at once full of pathos and brightness’

‘It would be easy to focus on the colourful insanity that is Africa's most populous nation. But Ms Saro-Wiwa is careful to avoid caricature. Curious, she travels out of Lagos to corners of the country many Nigerians never see .... Along the way, she allows herself to be surprised by kindness and humour, making new friends who open her eyes to the passion, wit and ingenuity of her homeland’

‘Noo Saro-Wiwa [illuminates] how it feels to be a Nigerian today, getting by in a country that sometimes seems as though it had been designed to thwart initiative, subvert integrity and madden its 160m inhabitants’ Tom Burgis

‘Noo Saro-Wiwa's exceptional story lends an interesting weight to Looking for Transwonderland, as she begins to rediscover the place she used to call home ... her vivid portraits of Nigerian life are intelligent and often very witty ... she offers a bright and honest account of Nigeria, a mad melting-pot that few travellers, especially those in her position, are willing to take on’ Freddie Reynolds

‘Remarkable... [Saro-Wiwa] manages to tell us more about Africa's modern-day giant in this deftly woven account than most academics do in a lifetime’ Michela Wrong

‘Saro-Wiwa is an engagingly smart travel companion, retaining an outsiders perspective even while staying with family and friends ... the complex world of Nigeria comes alive in her company’ Natalie Haynes

‘Saro-Wiwa is fiercely honest and compassionate about a country most tourists travel miles to avoid’ Zenga Longmore

‘Saro-Wiwa's exploration of Nigeria... [creates] a fascinating portrait of the country’

‘There is a mordant humour in her depiction of such events and places as the Nigerian dog show and the empty Transwonderland Amusement Park’ Giles Foden

‘This is a brilliant chronicle of "travels" in Nigeria... A remarkable piece of travel writing, but also a brilliant personal voyage of rediscovery’

‘This is a probing account of a geographic and a personal journey, both anchored in Nigeria's dysfunctional politics’ James Urquhart

Mind Unit - websites, content management and email marketing for the arts