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In Interview with Award-Winning Writer and Reader, Chidera Udochukwu

Chidera Udochukwu is an outstanding Nigerian writer and reader who, among many admirable feats, has won the D’LitReview Writing Contests several times. In this interview, she shares with us, her journey as a writer.

Dera Udochukwu

Q1. Winning multiple literary contests is quite impressive! Could you tell us about your experience participating in these competitions?

I submit to competitions that I am naturally drawn to, writing about the themes makes me feel at home and I give it my best; it’s a fulfilling experience sharing my gifts with different platforms.

 

Q2. Can you share with us a bit about your journey as a writer and how you got started?

First of all, I want to say a big shout-out to my parents, most especially my father who put the books in my face and the pencils in my hand. I have been writing since I was a child, I was born with this gift, and as a child, I was encouraged by my father, I scribbled on his books with pencils, crayons, and anything I could lay my hands on. I never left it, I have been churning out books in the comfort of my room since I was a teenager till now. I only had the courage to send out my work two years ago.

 

Q3. What inspires your writing? Are there any particular themes or topics that you find yourself drawn to?

I am an activist when writing, I am drawn to themes that affect women and their representation in society, musical themes, themes on culture and food, and climate change is a strong theme for me too. I don’t really like boxing myself in a particular genre, I must say I am diverse and versatile when the need arises.

 

Q4. How do you balance your career as a pharmacist with your passion for writing?

I write as though I don’t have a 9 to 5 job and when I am a pharmacist, I do my job perfectly. I try as much as possible to separate the two personalities and also manage the alter egos I take when I am method writing. Method writing is one of my favourite ways of writing. Once I come home and peel off my lab coat, I enter into writer mode mostly at night.

 

Q5. Being a contributor to various anthologies and magazines must be exciting. Can you share a bit about your experiences collaborating with different publications?

It is usually a beautiful experience because these magazines and anthologies want you to put out your best, they edit your work, making you see the beautiful ways and places you can take your writing. I learn a lot about how to make my writing better. I always have lessons to take home after each collaboration. It has made me a better writer.

 

Q6. What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are just starting their journey?

I would encourage them to keep on writing. Consistency pays very well. The more you write, the better you become. No one wakes up and is a perfect writer, you learn, you write, you get better, and one day you will see your name in the shape of the stars.

 

Q7. Are there any upcoming projects or works that you’re particularly excited about?

Yes, I am working on my debut novel or short story collection. I am also working on sending more stories to magazines of my dreams. I hope I get accepted.

 

Q8. How do you approach the creative process when writing poetry versus prose?

Poetry for me is very easy to write. My first award-winning poem was written on the bus ride home from the market. I have written poems in minutes. I am a natural at wordplay, rhythm and metaphors. Prose is exciting for me too but I really have to research sometimes, show and not tell, prose takes more time but in the end, it’s worth it.

 

Q9. Can you share any memorable feedback or reactions you’ve received from readers about your work?

A lot of positive feedback, someone told me, that my kind of writing is necessary and I should never stop writing. My poems have been called music. Someone also asked me if I knew how special and talented I am. I feel fulfilled knowing that people are appreciating my work. My works have been called brilliant and sometimes even if I want to withdraw submissions, the publishers almost never agree to let the work go.

 

Q10. Finally, what role do you think literature plays in society, and how do you hope your writing contributes to that?

Literature is like a documentation of the society around us, you get to experience someone’s world from the comfort of the room. Through literature, we can be activists, fighting for just causes and lending our voices to different discourses that affect us. I must say that my writing has drawn eyes to important parts of our world we are not paying much attention to for example climate change. This year, I won second prize in the Norwegian Dissolution climate change contest and I was happy that a story about my village and the effects of climate change was recognized in faraway Norway. It draws attention to our world and to people who are not a part of it. Literature unites the world.

 

 

 

BIO

Udochukwu Chidera Amarachi is a Nigerian writer and pharmacist. She was the second-place winner in the 2023 AS Abugi Short Story Prize. She won the third position in the 2023 BKPW Poetry Contest. She was also shortlisted for the 2023 The Green We Left Behind CNF contest organized by the Arts Lounge Literary Magazine. She won the 2022 Movement of the People Poetry Contest, the 2022 Shuzia Songs of Zion Poetry Contest, and the 2022 Shuzia Prose Contest. She won first runner-up in the prose category at the 2022 Lagos Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation contest. She also won an outstanding entry at the 2022 Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.

She is a contributor at Tabono Anthology, Tush Magazine, 2022 Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, Conscio Magazine, Ngiga Review, World Voices Magazine, Valiant Scribe, Our Stories Defined Anthology, Writer’s Hangout Initiative, Arts Lounge Literary Magazine, UI National Poetry Anthology, Aayo Magazine, Renata, and Writers Space Africa Magazine amongst others.

 

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