March 28, 2024

Hackney - with British-Nigerian author and photographer Elizabeth Okoh

Elizabeth Okoh is a British-Nigerian author and photographer with a degree in psychology and sociology from the University of Sussex. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Guardian, BBC, London Live TV and Amateur Photographer magazine, as well as curated in exhibitions nationally and internationally. Her debut novel, The Returnees, was published in 2020 by Hodder & Stoughton.

1. Where do you rest your head? 

I live in a beautiful and tranquil area of Hackney.

2. What’s something amazing about Hackney that only the locals know about?

You can enjoy a variety of activities without having to travel to any other borough. Hackney’s got it all: bougie fitness centres, pole dance studios, all sorts of restaurants and cute brunch cafes, and the cinema!

3. What’s your favourite free thing to do in the city?  

Taking a long scenic walk along the canal all the way to Tottenham. Unfortunately, the kind of activities I mostly enjoy whenever I venture out of my house (I’m a homebody) tend to cost money!

4. Where’s your favourite local spot for a cheap bite to eat?

It would have to be Pivaz - a Turkish restaurant in Lower Clapton which serves delicious food at affordable prices (especially in this economy).

5. What would your perfect no-spend London day involve?

I’m a big foodie and I love nature and photography. So it would have to be making a delicious hamper of savoury and sweet foods, then heading off to Holland Park for a picnic followed by a photoshoot. 

6. As an author and photographer, where do you go in London when you want to feel inspired?

My inspiration comes from observing people and life in general, so I don’t go anywhere in particular. For example, I might be walking to the station, and something happens along the way that might inspire me. Or inspiration could come during a conversation with a friend or when listening to a podcast. It can happen anywhere at any time. My work focuses on empowering marginalised groups, so I’m mostly using my work as a tool to have conversations about our society, culture and attitudes, and about how things these govern our human experience. 

7. Can you tell us about your recent Women on the Frontlines exhibition?

Women on The Frontlines celebrated the unsung heroines of the pandemic.  Bringing together ten women who worked in essential industries ranging from the NHS to postal services, it explored their mental, emotional, and physical realities during this period. 

I wanted the exhibition to pay tribute to frontline women – while they’re alive –  who significantly contributed to society during the pandemic; and to learn from their experiences for the future.

8. Are there any incredible, London-based women working on the frontlines who you’d like to give a shout out to?

Definitely! All the women in my project: Anila Arshad-Mehmood, Head of Student Services, Education, Esther Oghenekaro, Welfare Adviser, NHS, Hannah Carroll, Postperson, Royal Mail, Hannah Martin, Deputy Team Leader, Financial Services, Kasia Nwansi, ITU staff Nurse, NHS, Makeda  Blake,  Registered Nurse, NHS, Margaret Davis, Embalming Practitioner, Funeral Service, Monique Peynado, Train Driver, Transport, Natasha  Watson, Bus Driver, Transport , Sheryl Ibbotson, Police Constable, Emergency Response Policing.

And all the other women I would have also loved to work with had I had the budget to work with more frontline workers. 

8. And are there any independent (preferably women-owned) businesses which you’d like to recommend to our readers?

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by incredible female entrepreneurs. A big shout out to:

  1.  Ayo’s Cupcakes and Bakes - her brownies and cupcakes are the best! My favourite flavours are red velvet and cinnamon spice. Once you taste them, every other sweet treat falls short.
  2.  Attia - my professional makeup artist who makes everyone look stunning
  3. Ronke Lawal of Ariatu PR - the best PR in the country and most likely the reason you found me. 
  4. Bianca Ndirika who co-owns King 360 Booth with her husband - it’s the most professional 360 photo booth for events.
  5. Yasmine Patpatia - a wonderful creative coach.
  6. Mwaka of 722 Skin - an aesthetician and skincare specialist.
  7. Kanndiss Riley - who runs NBE Fitness for all levels and abilities.

9. If you were Mayor of London, what would you change about the city?

Transportation! London is a big city and it can take hours to get from one place to another on public transport. Plus, the rate at which the cost of travel has increased is outrageous. It would also be great to have more beautiful and well-kept parks in low income areas. Everyone deserves to enjoy nature.

10. In three words, what makes someone a Londoner?

Openness to difference.

You can find Elizabeth on all social media platforms @Lizeokoh and her portfolio at

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