She’s brilliant! She’s pretty! She’s down to earth, she signs her emails ‘Egbe belụ Ugo belụ …’, she’s a mom (four times over), She’s a poet, an author (writes in English and Dutch), and her works have been broadcast on BBC World Service, Radio Nigeria, and other Commonwealth Radio Stations. She’s Chika Unigwe, winner of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Prize for literature and my guest on the 3, 2, 1 Interview series!

I love her locks! Love, love, love em!

D Fairy GodSister: Play back Friday the 2nd of November for me, what were you up to one hour before you heard you had won?

Chika UnigweI was online (or on the phone, I forget which) with my friend, Elnathan John who was sending someone to the Press conference. He wished me luck. Then I left for Mass

D Fairy GodSister: Ok, were you concentrating at Mass? Or were you sneaking peeks at your phone?

Chika Unigwe: I was very nervous and having something to take my mind off it was very good. I left earlier than normal. I left my phone at home. I didn’t want to be tempted to check calls so I switched it off and left it at home. I tried very hard to concentrate. I told myself, whatever happens. I’ll still write. I wanted to win, but did not expect to.

D Fairy GodSister: Good call!

Chika Unigwe: We lost a number of family members on my husband’s part this year, so All Saints Mass this year was significant for us.

D Fairy GodSister: I’m sorry about that. *hugs*

Chika Unigwe: Thanks. they lived good lives, and in 3 cases, we got to say goodbye; you can’t ask for more than that. Two were in a fit enough state for us to thank for what they meant to us while they lived. The children got to say thanks.

D Fairy GodSister: My condolences again. Ok, you said you told yourself you’d still write regardless of how it went. On the flip side, did you fantasize about what you’d do with the money?

Chika Unigwe: No. My mind would not go there. I just thought, ‘it’d be really nice to win this!’ but I never thought as far as what I’d do with the money. It still hasn’t sunk in yet.

D Fairy GodSister: Ha ha ha…. Have I said congratulations? Maybe that’ll help!

Chika Unigwe: Haha. Thanks!

D Fairy GodSister: $100, 000… Might not be in the bank already but if you don’t mind, three things you’ll do with it?

Chika Unigwe: I’d like to give back to Nigeria. I don’t know how yet. My secondary school, FGGC Abuja, has a library in need of books, my car is breaking down and needs replacement, and number 3: my children have a long wish list

D Fairy GodSister: Ha ha ha!!! Bless them! How did they take the news that Mommy had won?

Chika Unigwe: They are very happy. My youngest is 6, so I don’t know how much of it he understands, but he’s been telling people, ‘My mama won a prize for writing a book. The best book.’

D Fairy GodSister: That’s all that matters, his mama wrote the best book! Let’s go back in time a bit, how/when did you start writing?

Chika Unigwe: I have always loved scribbling. I self published a collection of poetry in my 2nd year. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a writer. Luckily, my parents supported that dream. They filled our home with books, subscribed us to literary magazines in the US and and Nigeria; and when I asked at 13 during a holiday to the village for a typewriter to type out my poems and stories, my father went and borrowed one for me for the duration of that long vacation.

D Fairy GodSister: Thank God for our parents right? So, what inspires you? And how do you deal with writers block?

Chika Unigwe :Everything inspires me. Conversations with people, overheard conversations in public, stories in the news, life. Writers Block? I don’t know that I deal with them effectively. I just stare at my computer….

D Fairy GodSister: Lola.…… Was expecting some magic formula!

Chika Unigwe: I wish I had some. LOL. I sometimes also go to Facebook and read peoples’ updates…

D Fairy GodSister: We’re winding down now….. Have you always had your hair locked?

Chika Unigwe: No. I started when I became pregnant with my youngest. I realized I would not have as much time to get my hair braided. I loved long, tiny braids, but with a new baby on the way, I knew it would be difficult to make out time for that. I wanted something easy to maintain.

D Fairy GodSister:They look lovely!

Chika Unigwe: thanks

D Fairy GodSister : If you had three wishes you were sure would come true, what would they be?

Chika Unigwe: world peace, my favourite uncle to be alive again, and equality of everyone: equal access to the world’s riches and resources.

D Fairy GodSister: Tell us about running for elective office; what was that experience like?

Chika Unigwe: Exhausting: meetings, campaigns, distributing flyers door to door, talking to people. Exhausting mostly

D Fairy GodSister: Would you do it again?

Chika Unigwe: Did it 3 times already, so chances are high that I’d do it again

D Fairy GodSister: Ok. Final question: what’s the biggest word of advice you’ve run with you’d like to leave with other writers?

Chika Unigwe: do not take criticism of your work as criticism of your person.

Thank you Chika for talking to me!! Now, how did you say we’re sharing that money again?

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  1. […] 3, 2, 1 Interviews: Congratulations Chika! (fairygodsister.wordpress.com) […]

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