Skip to main content

Interview with author Ifesinachi Okoli Okpagu



BBR: We would love to know how growing up was like.

Growing up was fun. I am the first of five children, so there was never the opportunity to be 'alone'...there would always be someone in your space (laughs), but it was great. When I think of my childhood days, I think of Lucky Dube and Everly Brothers; of sunshine pouring in through yellow curtains in the morning; and of gardens of tomatoes and roses, no- we had gardens of tomatoes and pepper outside. I think of a playground with crisp yellow sand, the voices of children floating, ringing; bicycles, lots of cycling bicycles; I think of sweat. Those days, children smelled of sweat and sunshine, not air conditioning. 

BBR: How do you combine writing with family life and work and all that.

I find a way to dedicate time to everyone and everything I hold dear. I don't joke with family time, same way I don't joke with work time or writing time. I schedule everything nicely on my calendar and dedicate 100% to each at any given time; that way I try to find balance. But my family comes first. Always. My husband, my children, they are priceless. They understand that I have to work sometimes, and I guess they have gotten used to my ways.

BBR: Your novel is about family, marriage, women, sex. What was the inspiration behind these subject issues.

Just everyday happenings. Marriage is a big deal in the society today, and the pressure has pushed many people into making  wrong decisions. I drew inspiration from these stories we hear everyday. 

BBR: How was publishing for you? The stages.

First, the Parresia team got in touch with me. Azafi, the team lead, asked me if I had a manuscript. I was working on one at the time, and she was nice enough to wait for me to finish it and send it in. It took a year to complete. Luckily, it was accepted for publishing..yay! After that, there was the long wait for the manuscript to go through the editing stages, then layout, and finally, here it is!

BBR: How do you place the Nigerian literature industry today.

It is an evolving industry, definitely growing, not there yet. But with the new crop of writers and the world beginning to appreciate us, I think we will soon enjoy the same recognition that other international writers enjoy.

BBR: What's your take on African feminism?

Hmm. Is there such a thing as African feminism? I see feminism as a universal call to action, not a regional one. 

BBR: How do you see Nigeria today. The economy, the industries, the education, everything.

Wow. Nigeria is, I don't know, just there. But there is hope. We mustn't lose hope.

BBR: What has been the reaction towards your book; the reviews, the sales.

It has been great. Out of the blue I would receive a message from a reader saying they read the book and loved it. The other day someone said she was reading it for the second time on her way to work! And yet another lecturer from Gombe State University reached out to me to say that his student was analysing the book as the subject of her thesis. It has been really great to know the book means as much to people as it means to me. 

BBR: What would be your advice for writers, especially young Nigerian writers. 

Keep writing, try to network as much as you can, and believe in your craft no matter how many rejection letters you get. 

BBR: Thanks for having you, Ifesinachi.

Merci (Smiles)


Popular posts from this blog

Dalu's Diary by Ogechi Ezeji : Children's Literature in Nigeria is Coming Back

I felt like a child once again, after reading Ogechi Ezeji’s Dalu’s Diary , a book of fiction for children and adults alike.The feeling I got from reading this work is akin to the one I got from reading Chinua Achebe’s Chike and the River , Onuora Nzekwu’s Eze Goes to School, Cyprian Ekwensi’s The Drummer Boy and all other great children fictions of Nigeria’s literary golden age, so many years ago. In the story, little Chukwudalu Aniche is obsessed with his diary, which he kept and wrote in at every turn of an important event that moves him to write. He initially lived in Owerri with his parents, Mr and Mrs Aniche and his beloved uncle Akachi, before his accountant father was transferred to Abuja, on account of his honesty and determination towards his job. Through Dalu’s diary, we are able to understand the inner workings of the young boy’s mind, his family, his closeness with his uncle, his view of his maternal aunt and her erratic daughter and most of all, his percept

Writers against the Bullying of Otosirieze Obi-Young and the Obfuscation of Truth

A STATEMENT BY WRITERS IN SUPPORT OF OTOSIRIEZE OBI-YOUNG In light of recent tweets and threads going around about the former Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper and the resistance to what many consider an unfortunate muzzling of truth, we, his colleagues and friends, would like to make a few things clear: We have worked with Otosirieze Obi-Young for years, have disagreed with him on many occasions, and never have we felt disrespected or stifled by him. We know and have often celebrated his firm commitment to diversifying the literary scene, giving young writers visibility, his efforts to make sure that prizes think of more writers than the already-known, especially those writers living on the continent; his push for the establishment of the Brittle Paper Awards is one example of concrete ways in which this commitment has been put to work. On Facebook, we have seen him talk passionately and with deep knowledge about the state of African writing and what needs to be done to enhance it,

Chetachi Igbokwe: What it Means to Attend Chimamanda Adichie’s Writing Workshop

Chetachi Igbokwe  is a final year student of English and Literary Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is the current editor of the University of Nigeria’s student journal,  The Muse , a journal of creative and critical writing, founded by Chinua Achebe in 1963. He is a 2019 alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop, facilitated by the Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. What was it like having to be taught by the amazing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Was it your first time of applying?  CHETACHI IGBOKWE : Thanks to Black Boy Review for affording me this platform. I respect Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and being taught by her was a great deal for me. Having read everything she has published thus far, starting from her first novel,  Purple Hibiscus,  which was a tour de force, it is evident that every generation must feel blessed to be graced with a writer like her. Originally, I knew about the workshop from close friends. I also knew h