Peer Pressure, Biggest Challenge as a Teen – Chika Unigwe

Posted: April 10, 2015 by Arinola Lawal in Literary Corner
Tags: , , , ,

Chika Nina Unigwe is a Nigerian-born author. She was born in 1974, in Enugu and writes in English and Dutch. She got  selected to be part of Hay Festival’s Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 in April 2014. 

Her novels include:

  •  De Feniks which was published in 2005 (the same year she won the 3rd prize in the Equiano Fiction Contest)
  • Fata Morgana (2008)
  • On Black Sisters’ Street, a novel about African prostitutes living and working in Belgium. On Black Sisters’ Street won the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2012, valued at $100,000 (Africa’s largest literary prize) 
  • Black Messiah, a novel about Olaudah Equiano.


She lives in the United States with her family. Teen Orbit was so fortunate to have a chat with Chika Unigwe.
In this interview, she tells Dhebbie about her childhood and career amongst other things. 

IMG-20150410-WA0001Question: Please, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Answer: I was born in Enugu, Nigeria. I’m the 6th of 7 children. I left Enugu to go to boarding school (FGGC Bwari, Abuja). I am an alumnus of the University of Nigeria. I have a Masters Degree from the KU Leuven, and a PhD from the University of Leiden, Holland. I am married with 4 children. 

Question: What is your normal day like? 
Answer: I wake, help my youngest son get ready for school and write.

Question: So, how do you unwind after a hectic day?
Answer: I listen to music or read a good book (or do both).

Question: And what was growing up like?
Answer:  I had a beautiful childhood, full of warmth and love.

Question: What is your best memory from teenage hood?
Answer:  Going off to the university.

Question: What was the major challenge you faced as a teenager?
Answer: Not giving in to peer pressure, being my own person.

Question: And how did you overcome the challenge ?
Answer: I stayed true to the values I was raised with, and refused to do anything which made me uncomfortable, or which I could not tell my mother about.

Question: Who were your mentors as a teenager? 
Answer: Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta and Chinua Achebe.

Question: What inspired you to chose your choice of career?
Answer:  I enjoyed writing.

Question: What was the thing you regretted doing as a teenager ?
Answer: Going to an all-night party without making sure there was someone to bring me back at the end of it. I never went to another party if I did not have a sure way of getting back to the campus at the end of it.

Question: Is there any trend you’ve noticed among teens these days that didn’t exist in your time?
Answer: Yes. The Social Media. Teenagers these days are more public about their private lives (thanks to the internet).

Question: Who do you admire more than anyone else in your field?
Answer: Lots of writers.

Question: What’s your greatest fear?
Answer: That I’d go blind and be unable to write (or read).

Question: So, what’s the next project you’re working on?
Answer: Another novel.

Question: What’s the dream you’re committed to making real?
Answer: Writing as many books as I can.

Question: What do you attribute your success to?
Answer: Blessings, luck, opportunities and hardwork.

Question: What’s your advice to young people like me?
Answer: Coolness isn’t giving in to peer pressure. Coolness is being true to yourself.

Question: Is there anything I didn’t ask that you’d like readers to know?
Answer: No, thank you.

Dhebbie: Thanks so much for the interview.
C. Unigwe: My pleasure.

I hope that lit up something in you. Be a functional teen/young adult, The world awaits you!
You won’t believe who we’ll be interviewing next! Can you guess??

Written by: Otuagomah Dhebbie Jhay

  1. willions says:

    I like this…


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