With tons of works and publications that have been featured in magazines, honorary recognitions and a BBC Broadcast inspired by one of her works, she has made a name for herself. In this interview Chika Unigwe talks about life as a fulltime mother and author and her opinion of the word “feminism”.

Interview by Chiaka O.

NE: How are you today?

Chika: Fine, thank you

NE: Wow, I must commend you on your very well written poems and short stories. What were your main motivations and Inspirations for writing?

Chika: Thanks. My main motivation is my fondness for writing. Sometimes, there are stories begging to be told.

NE: In a previous e-conversation you said that you tend to write about African women and their experiences as wives, mothers and mothers. Do you get inspiration for some of these stories from your experiences or the experiences of your friends?

Chika: I can’t take a far enough distance from my own experiences to write about them , so I tend to use other people’s.

NE: How do you effectively balance life as a Wife, Mother and Writer?

Chika: I am lucky to have a supportive network of family and friends who baby-sit when I need it. Anyway, the children are at school between 8.30 and 3.30, so I have time during the day to work.

NE: Are you a full-time writer?
Chika: Yes. I am.

NE: Who are some of your favorite Authors?
Chika: Caryl Phillips, Erwin Mortier ( a Belgian writer), Peter Carey, Ben okri

NE: By the way, I love the realistic way you portray how life abroad is for a new comer. A lot of people think that you come abroad and everything is handed to you on a silver platter. Are some of these stories based on your experiences?

Chika: Thank you. The immigrant stories I write are familiar or ought to be to a lot of immigrants. They are stories I hear, stories I see.

NE: Chika Unigwe is all over Google. Your fiction has been published in many journals and anthologies, and you have received a lot of recognition and awards. How did you manage to successfully breakout into the public eye? What were your greatest challenges?
Chika: My single greatest challenge was balancing school, family and writing.

NE: How did you get BBC to broadcast “Touched by an Angel”?
Chika: I sent it to them and they liked it.

NE: As a mother raising her children in a foreign country, has it been challenging trying to work with our Nigerian culture and the European culture?

Chika: Their father (my husband) is European, which means that sometimes we have different views on child-raising. Luckily, we often manage to find a balance between the two cultures

NE: Do you consider yourself a Feminist?

Chika: The word , “feminism” has a cultural/historical background that makes me reluctant to use it to describe myself. I believe in gender equality.

NE: What advice do you have for aspiring female writers of today?

Chika: Every aspiring writer, male or female, has to know that successful writing comes with a lot of rejections. As a writer , one has to learn not to take such rejections personal. And most importantly, learn not to let the rejections knock one down. Also, to write well, one has to read voraciously. Read authors one admires and write constantly.


Chika Unigwe’s works can be found by doing a google search for her name.

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