The winner of the 2012 NLNG $100,000 prize for literature, Chika Unigwe has described herself as not being a confident writer, yet she churns out award-winning novels, one after the other.
“The only pressure I feel is against myself. I am a very self-doubting writer. I am not a confident writer at all, when I write I doubt, so the only pressure I feel is to make sure that at the point when my agent is selling, I am happy with it,” she stated.
She further describes herself as an ‘idiot’, saying “I don’t let the lack of self-confidence in my writing stop me and the good thing about prizes is that they validate…..and this gives me the ego-boost I need to carry on writing.”
The Belgium-based mother of four who also writes in Dutch also spoke on a myriad of issues such as the theme of her last novel; On Black Sisters’ Street, which is based on Nigerian ladies, prostituting across Europe.
Claiming that 99.9 per cent of prostitutes in Europe are from Benin city, the writer explained how her interaction with some former prostitutes revealed that family members and even parents are involved in the trafficking of young Nigerian girls to Europe for prostitution.
The writer turned social activist, noted that prostitution has become a way for some Nigerians who cant escape the vicious cycle of poverty “and for them, this (prostitution) is the only way.”
She narrates a reported account from the Oba of Benin on how some mothers threatened to protest naked if the King moved against the trafficking of their daughters.
Chika Unigwe is Ph.D holder in Literature from the University of Leiden, Netherlands who in 2003, was was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing and 2004, won the BBC Short story Competition