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INTERVIEW WITH CHIBUNDU ONOZO,  AUTHOR OF “THE SPIDER KING’S DAUGHTER” by Gbenga Awomodu

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In 2010, Chibundu Onuzo, a 19-year-old Nigerian undergraduate at the King’s College London made the headlines, from BBC to CNN, after signing a two-novel deal with revered British publisher of literary fiction, Faber & Faber, making her its youngest ever female author. She started writing The Spider King’s Daughter when she was 17, got an agent at 18, signed with Faber at 19, finished editing while 20 and got published at 21. When she started writing at ten, her first inspirations included English classics like Jane Eyre and David Copperfield, after which she discovered the rich literary tradition of Nigeria in her favourite authors – Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this exclusive interview with Gbenga Awomodu, Chibundu who has recently completed her first degree in History talks about her debut novel, published in March 2012, writing, faith, Lagos, Nigeria and much more.

Please tell us a bit about yourself – what you do; your education and where you grew up.

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My full name is Imachibundu Oluwadara Onuzo – Oluwadara because my mother is Yoruba; Imachibundu because my father is Igbo. I grew up in a very quiet estate in Lagos. I know almost all my neighbours by name and in turn most of them know me as ‘one of Dr. Onuzo’s daughters.’ Both my parents are doctors and are still practising. My primary school was called Corona Gbagada. Our school anthem described us as ‘the centre of excellence’ a motto borrowed from my much beloved Lagos State. I then proceeded to Atlantic Hall where once a week we sang lustily, ‘We love thee o, Great Atlantic Hall.’ It was perhaps an attempt by the anthem writer to brainwash us unruly adolescents. After three years at ‘A-Hall’ as her alumni call her, I went to St. Swithuns, a school in Winchester, where I perfected my phonetics and shortened my name to ‘Chibs.’ I then went to University in London, King’s College, where I dropped my phonetics and lengthened my name once more to Chibundu. Now, on the […]

Gbenga Awomodu blogs Life, Leadership & Management, Faith & Music at Gbenga’s Notebook

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THE ORPHAN – REVIEW by Veronica Nwokoji

To everything there is a time allotted to it. Life is full of stages, it is full of ups and downs and it is in transit. I will agree with you that the life of Aliche Ufomba is a lesson and a food for thought.

It will interest you to know that a life full of stress, struggles and sufferings could be turned into a life of bliss and glory if you are honest, hardworking, persevering and patient with nature to raise you at the appointed time.

Your abilities to turn a challenge into an opportunity to grow, to develop and to achieve make you a matured mind, a great man and an achiever. Sometimes your ability to succeed may be delayed by challenges, but you need not give up, need not back off, need not t accept defeat, for life is full of struggles and nothing good comes easily without an effort.

Life will finally earn you an enduring peace and happiness when you are successful by your struggle and through the grace and favour of God.

 

It will also interest you to know that no matter your background, you have the power, the strength, and the ability to succeed in you, if you are determined.

Looking at life and what it holds for Aliche Ufomba, ‘The Orphan’ at his early stage, life seems to be hopeless and worthless, and to some extent some would ask ‘‘why did God bring me to this world to suffer? No father, no mother, no brother, no sister, he could not even trace his maternal home and relatives, the only person he knew and lived with was his step mother who later in life attempted killing him. Despite how wicked the world was to him, the grace of God was sufficient for him because he recognized and made God his everything. He conquered the hurdles of life and was able to achieve and make a successful life. He did not relent, he did not turn into a beggar on the streets, or get involved in social vices and the likes rather he accepted each challenge as a stepping stone to his greatness and God saw him through the tough times.

What ever you become in life is not by a chance occurrence, it is because that is what you have chosen. Challenge is a catalyst to success and to every opposition and temptation conquered there is a position, a growth, an achievement, and an attainment for you.

These challenges come to strengthen your drive for success. So many challenges are for a purpose, such that you could be firm, steadfast, cautious and hardworking in order to survive, such moments come to be that you would know and cling to your Creator who is the maker of all things and who is Success personified.

 

As you pick up this book ‘The orphan’ by Prof. A.U. Aliche to read, it will gear you up to leave that ill and pity-position which you are operating on to attain that position which will comfort your soul and make your life swift and beautiful.

 

If Aliche Ufomba could succeed irrespective of what life seems to hold for him at the beginning and become successful with wife and children, you will make it as you accept every challenge that comes your way

This book will also guard and guide you to unfold the mysteries to your success, not only for the orphans but to all who want to succeed in life and experience freedom from poverty, freedom from mockery, freedom from irresponsibility and be celebrated.

There is a purpose for your being created. Stand firm and accept trials and temptation to achieve this purpose and be accomplished. [End]

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Veronica Nwokoji is of the Michael Okpara University, Umudike – Umuahia, Nigeria

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THE ORPHAN – REVIEW by Queen Chioma Duru

This book entitled “THE ORPHAN” which was written by Prof. Anthony Aliche is a book one really needs to read because it will motivate you and also teach you the importance of self-determination.

I’ve always told people that no one advises you better than yourself. This is because even if the best of advisers advice you and you do not put it to work, then it makes no meaning. Decisions you make for yourself do not need anyone to monitor or remind you before you keep to them- whether in the open or in secret.

In this book, the author told the story of his father, Aliche Ufomba whose life story is both a lesson and a food for thought. This young and intelligent Orphan understood that there is no rest until success is achieved. He knew the definition of Hard work, Time and Patience and this was part of his success story. He lived an exemplary life and one worthy of emulation.

He passed through pains, trials, difficult times and had a lot of challenges which altogether spurred him to fully make up his mind to leave his hometown, Amapu for another place. This challenge was indeed a catalyst to his success. Indeed when a door closes, another one will open.

Besides his hard work, he feared God and God was with him because our God respects people who work very hard, he does not like lazy people; remember; no food for a lazy man. God made him highly favoured everywhere he found himself and this really helped him when he finally travelled to a strange land called Maha to know what will become his fate because he believed that one day, God will wipe away his tears.

In Maha, people showed him love to the extent that he was wondering what kind of people they were, showing kindness to a stranger like him but this was simply God in action. The people made almost everything easy for him and this indeed showed that with love, all works are easy.

His business began to boom to the extent that he had to expand it because it was solidly built on truth. What an improvement and a rapid growth!

But then, when he taught that life was its best, his world fell apart.

The Orphan is an intriguing story of from problems to praises, filled with suspense, lots of hate, rancor, war, love and ah! I just could not put it down until I got to the last page.

All you just need is to grab a copy and have this same feeling! [End]

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Queen Chioma Duru is of the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.


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ANTONYMS OF A MIRAGE-REVIEW by Bola Essien-Nelson

Antonyms of a Mirage!  rocks in the freshest of ways. I can honestly say that I have never read anything like it. It is a combination of all sorts of mind boggling, uncomfortable to read topics and life issues and I really think everyone should get a copy.

This book made me squirm and I need some squirm-partners. Yes, in this deceptively innocent-enough looking book lies some major soul-searching writing dished out in very unexpected ways.

When I said it made me squirm I meant it. Her writing haunts you. From the first page, it grabs you like a bull dog and takes you on this ride. You try to get off because it is cutting too close to home, but you cannot because you just want to see what happens in the end. And when you get to the end, you squirm some more. I love it because it gets you to think very well.  I am not sure any of us will read her book and not see ourselves (in full or in part, past or present) in it somewhere. I would find it hard to believe really.

So far, my favorite bits  are The Parable of the Cockroaches, My Own Worst Enemy, Walking In Her Mind, In My Pocket, Letter to Undo, Corruption Noni (hilarious!), The Other Woman (this is such a mean but true piece)Family Portrait (sadly true) …..and I could go on. [End]

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Bola Essien-Nelson is the Author of The Diaries of a Desperate Naija Woman

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ANTONYMS OF A MIRAGE- REVIEW by Myne Whitman

Atilola’s world is one that most of us are familiar with. She lives and works in Nigeria. Yet, reading this book shows that the vistas of our minds can be very different. The versatile works that make up Antonyms of a Mirage, her first collection, prove just how similar and at the same time different we can be, in ways that are as entertaining as they are sometimes disturbing. It starts off with an encounter with Corruption as a fictional character, “corrupy” in Corruption Noni; and continues with the sprinkles of pop culture in the reference to Brangelina in The Same Cain.

There are glimpses of Nigerian life on religiously noisy Akanni Street as well as in other hard-hitting and thought provoking rhymes and lines in the following poems including Because, Film Trick and Family Portrait. The thread of spotlighting vanity, hypocrisy and fake living continue in Letter to Undo, written to a younger more impressionable self, Prayer of Mediocrity; and In my Pocket featuring Chief Bangoshe, he with a huge slice of the national cake. 

As the writing moves through the Sagacious and Bitter, through to the Melancholic and Opinionated, other social issues are also addressed, including abortion, beggars, prostitution, and the pressure to get married in titles like Do you Know, Citizen of a Fallen World, Mrs Pressured, among others.

The collection ends on a more light-hearted note with a precocious child in This Parrot Girl and Blessing Gbeborun, the all-seeing gossip in a compound full of drama. It is also in this Comic section that Atilola reveals more of herself with an ode to her father who is Samson…Not, a persistent admirer, and the yuppy sugar-daddy.

Antonyms of a Mirage is certainly a book worth reading. Each article, poem or fiction piece offers a unique slice into the lived consciousness of Nigerians as observed by a myriad of characters including the author herself. [End]

Myne Whitman is the best selling romance author of A Heart to Mend and A Love Rekindled

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Leonardo Ravenhill, the accomplished revivalist, told us the story of a man who visited an alien community and asked an old man there, “Has any great man been born here?” In response, the old man said, “No great man has ever been born here, only babies.” It is not to be argued that all great men and all of us are born as babies.  What we eventually become is a game of choice, not of chance, a choice that is founded on our determination and on our stamina in carving out a stable path for ourselves. God moulded us with equal and adequate and inner constitution to rise to all we choose to become.

In consonance with Ravenhill’s age-old story and unlike the salient cause of the documentation of the histro-journalistic compilation called biography; which its authorship is usually prompted by the writer’s conviction of a sense of great fulfillment and achievement on the part of the protagonist, Ugochukwu Aliche, makes a turn from the inspiring causes of the writing of the biography. Given his wild-fire proficiency in philosophical and scientific studies […]

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Naija Stories Anthology”>Colourful  Threads in the Nigerian Literary Fabric: A Review of Naija Stories by Unoma Azuah

Naija Stories makes a rewarding read because a  sizable number of the stories in the anthology beam beyond the imperfections of the weaker stories. This collection adds a unique design to the tapestry that makes up the layout of the Nigerian literary fabric. The stories renew our plush tradition of yarning and knitting of anecdotes.  The anthology is divided into four sections with the subtitles: Tears, Kisses, Heroes, and Villains. These subtitles pretty much represent the contents of the sections.

Stories that beam with the brilliance of precision, include, “Blame it on a Yellow Dress,” “Showdown at Rowe Park,” and “One Sunday Morning in Atlanta,” among others.  These stories glitter with vigour. “Blame it on the Yellow Dress,” explores incest. It reveals how a father sexually abuses his young daughter […]

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ANTONYMS OF A MIRAGE-REVIEW by Bola Essien-Nelson

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