KA: Welcome to Konnect Africa! If you weren’t a writer, what else would you be doing?
That’s easy! I would be a Lawyer- which I am- or a Filmmaker -which I hope to become.
KA: Let’s get up, close and personal; Give us a bit of history and ethnicity.
Well, let’s start with names: Jennifer Nkemdilim Eneanya nee Onuigbo. Igbo by birth and by marriage. Lawyer by training. Daughter of two. Sister of many. Wife of one. Mother of two. Friend of God.
KA: Education; Where and what did you study? Did you have to take any additional classes to hone your writing?
I trained at the University of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Law School. I have attended several short courses like the Caine Prize Short story Surgery and undertaken a few online courses. However, I wrote my first story, -about a dancing doll which froze in the freezer [LOL]- when I was about 8-years old.
KA: Did you or your folks ever imagine you would become a writer?
My folks always thought I would be a Lawyer actually. To them, writing was just something I happened to be good at. Me? I knew writing came easy to me, that was about it.
KA: What are your influences as a writer? What influences your writing?
I have a very, sometimes too vivid an imagination. It used to scare me, until I realised how to make it work for me. Life is a huge influencer: the beggar on the road, news stories, history, a random object, a tragedy, an experience.
KA: Kindly give a sneak peek into your new book.
The Curious Case of the Small Pikin & Other Stories is an anthology of some of my best loved stories. Curiously, the story from which the book earned its title is not fiction.
The terrors of being forced to have babies for sale; the struggles of a child-soldier to provide for his family; the pain of a childless couple and a prostitute seeking restoration… These and other stories make for an enthralling read in this collection of humorous, thought-provoking, and riveting short stories.
KA: What were the challenges you encountered whilst writing and publishing the book?
Defeating procrastination was probably my biggest challenge.
KA: Do you see yourself as a ‘genre specific’ author?
Fact: I love fiction, specifically short stories. But my writing veers into too many other genres for me to answer that question in the affirmative.
KA: Have you ever received a negative review of your writing? What did you do about it?
I have; and I tried to learn, especially if the source of the review is an experienced hand.
KA: How do you prod yourself to write on those awful days when it just seems so hard?
This is hard. I think I read, to get those creative juices flowing. Or I remember the thousand and one things that await my attention. Or I think of the rewards- who knows, I may be on my way to writing ‘The Book!’
KA: You are at a Writers Workshop; what do you tell the eager listeners who seek to better their skills?
Read and write. A lot.
KA: What’s the best perk of being a writer?
The flexibility to manage your own time, the knowledge that your words can reach people all over the world, in places you have not and may never see.
KA: Do you believe that writers can change the world?
One line at a time, one person at a time, one mindset at a time, yes we can. Unfortunately that could be for better or for worse.
KA: Where can your books be purchased, online and offline?
The Curious Case of the Small Pikin & Other Stories can be purchased online via Okadabooks.com. You may need to download the App to make a purchase.
KA: Africa will rise when?
When we can look at each other and say without a shadow of doubt: “I don’t care if you are light-skinned or dark-skinned, if you are from my ethnic extraction or not, if we have different accents or beliefs; you are human, you are my brother, and I am yours.
KA: Inspire an aspiring African writer in one sentence…
You would be amazed to know that there are millions of folks who wonder how you string those words together, so please, don’t ever stop.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter :@jennynkem or send her an email: email@example.com
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