February – Iweka Kingsley

I started writing about 7 years ago, but I only started taking it seriously about 3 years ago. I began writing because it was the most suitable way for me to express myself. I am very passionate about positive change, especially for Nigeria and Africa, and thus I started writing articles on transformation and hope, as a way to add my voice to that of many others out there who are fighting for the same purpose- a redefined black race. When I later switched to fiction writing, my desire for change didn’t fade, and so I find myself writing about emancipation of women and stuffs that inspire hope and change.

For my inspiration, I’d like to quote a particular verse from the Bible: “There is a spirit in man, the inspiration of the Almighty giveth it wisdom.” I find reasons to write around me and within me. I move about and I see the pain, joy; grief, happiness; failure and success, of several individuals I come across, and a story or an article forms in my mind already.

My writing style; well, people tell me that my stories are brief but precise, and that they pack a lot of punch too. I’m not surprised. My manuscript for my first book “DAPPLED THINGS”, is only long enough to be a novella. However, I like to ‘experiment’ when I write, hence, I would not restrict myself to any particular genre. Therefore, I would say my writing style is quite versatile.

If there is one theme that runs through most of my works, it would be Hope, or maybe Change. It is evident and loud in many of my works. I always like to present my main characters as hopeful people, because eventually, it is hope that sets us all free.

Several books have touched me in different ways. Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and “A Man Of The People” inspired my very first attempt to write a novel. Helon Habila’s “Waiting For An Angel” and “Measuring Time” have also helped my writing endeavours. Scott Peck’s “A Road Less Traveled”, has also influenced my thought pattern, and hence, my writing too.

I don’t know any Writer well enough to regard any one of them as a mentor; but I have much love and respect for all of them. However, Chinua Achebe seems to appeal to me greatly, he may come close to that place of being my mentor.

I am currently reading “I Do Not Come To You By Chance” by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani.

Well, Myne Whitman has done more than ‘grasp’ my interest, she has become a great friend, maybe even acted as a mentor in some capacity. Then I’m also looking forward to reading Teju Cole’s work, I hear it’s a deeply intellectual effort.

The fact that I did not study English and Literature is in itself a challenge. Then, there is the challenge of a proper writing
environment and of course, a system that adequately appreciates the place of writers in its society.

Chinua Achebe has a special place in my heart for the simplicity he applies to his writing. He tells/told his stories so interestingly without bamboozling anyone with verbose grammar.

I think the Nigerian publishing industry is not ‘new author’ friendly; and that is asides the fact that there are not many publishing houses in the country. It is very tough breaking through the industry, even when you are so good. Also, I have seen many outcomes from several Nigerian publishers and I am not impressed by the quality of print nor the quality of editing. In all, I think the indstry needs to be supported and helped to grow, so that it can serve the many talents in the country.

Hopefully, with the many initiatives in the country to help the reading culture, we should see some change in that regard soon.

I say a big thank you to everyone for reading and supporting my efforts in diverse ways, you all keep giving me reasons to write. T H A N K Y O U ! ! !

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