Maria Motunrayo Adebisi

Maria Motunrayo Adebisi

Children's Writer
Booking enquiry
Maria Motunrayo Adebisi - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview


Age 7 to 11, Age 11 to 14


Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction

Book types

Fiction 8-13




About the Author

As part of my degree I focused on post-colonial literature from West Africa. Once I graduated from the University of Oxford, I knew that I wanted to write a novel that would speak to children straddling British and African identities and make them proud of both.


About the Book

The story of Kòkú Àkànbí starts when thirteen year-old city kid Koku accidentally releases a demon on a trip to the British Museum. As punishment, his uncle sends him to Olori, the West African land of origins, for the summer. Koku thinks life can't get any worse - his sickle cell anaemia has always left him feeling like an outsider, and now he's being parcelled off to a country he barely remembers.

However, when Koku arrives in Olori, he finds himself caught in a war between powerful magical tribes trying to destroy the night and the magical creatures who need it, forever. As the last living descendent of the darkness-controlling Olókun tribe, Koku is the only one who can stop the fight… 



"Maria Adebisi's workshop at Kingsford Community School was a hit! The students were engaged throughout the 90-minute session, which included a fun quiz and the opportunity to ask Maria questions about her writing process. They were buzzing with excitement to read her book Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight afterwards. Maria's visit truly left a lasting impact on the students and we look forward to welcoming her back to Kingsford very soon." Head of English - Kingsford Community School


I have several years of teaching experience and I am an accomplished public speaker. I also have a BA (Hons) from the University of Oxford in English Literature and Language.

Recently, I have delivered interactive on screen event in collaboration with Picture House Cinemas for 200 children, and I have also been a panel speaker at the Black British Literary Festival.

I love visiting schools, bookstores, and libraries and I’m happy to change presentations to suit your needs. I also specialise in delivering content to students with special needs including autism and dyslexia. I offer inspirational talks covering my journey to being a published author and creative writing workshops complete with Activity Sheets designed by Hachette that feature topics of Fantasy and Myths, African History and Belonging and what motivated me to include a character with an illness, specifically sickle cell anaemia.

I will also discuss how I worked with artist Simone Douglas to bring the characters to life through the illustrations featured in the book. My talks are generally aimed towards KS2 and KS3, however, I am more than happy to amend this to fit the ages of the older or younger students.



I charge £350 per hour for in person talks (plus travel expenses/hotel stay if needed). I am happy to travel UK wide.

My rates are £80 per hour for virtual sessions.



"Sharp, Thrilling, Witty"- The Guardian

"Epic storytelling with a sharp wit. I love Kòkú!"
― Louie Stowell, author of Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good

"Adebisi's innovative debut mixes Yoruba, West African Pidgin and Jamaican Patois without missing a beat" - The Sunday Observer

Books by Maria Motunrayo Adebisi

My novel Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight is the first book in a series based on West African Mythology and it is aimed at readers aged 9-12. It is a thrilling tale of ancient tribes, dangerous demons and vengeful mermaids and it contains eye-catching comic book-style illustrations that will appeal to even the most reluctant of readers.

Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight

Cursed with a weird name and an illness to match, Koku thinks life can't get any worse - until he unleashes a demon on a school trip. He expects detention, but instead he's hurled into an impossible quest filled with MAGICAL TRIBES, MAN-EATING MONSTERS and VENGEFUL MERMAIDS. When an ASSASSIN is sent to hunt him down, Koku's only hope is to team up with a clumsy shapeshifter and a moody warrior-in-training. Together they enter the JUJULAND JUNGLE, a place filled with DANGEROUS SECRETS. Can Koku discover his own power, before it's too late?