“Believe in your dream; believe you have something to say to the world” – Interview with Chiamaka Nwangwu

“Believe in your dream; believe you have something to say to the world” – Interview with Chiamaka Nwangwu


Believe in your dream; believe you have something to say to the world” – Interview with Chiamaka Nwangwu

As the Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest enters its second year, we had an engrossing chat with the winner of the maiden edition in the poetry category, Chiamaka Nwangwu. She made the longlist for the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize in 2016. Her essay, ‘My Book Affair’ was published on TheAfroReader, a literary blog in 2017.

In this interview, Nwangwu discussed her passion for writing and how she got the inspiration behind her winning poem, ‘Lights Out.’ Enjoy.

KD: Who is Chiamaka Nwangwu? Let us meet you!
Nwangwu: Hello. I am Chiamaka Doreen Nwangwu. I am from Nsukka in Enugu state. I live in Lagos. I am currently in my 4th year of undergraduate law at the University of Ibadan. I think I am a bit of a romantic. I love reading; I have a fondness for African literature. I also write a little.

Chiamaka Nwangwu

Winner of the 2017 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Content (Poetry Category) 

KD: When did you first discover your passion for poetry, what inspired you?

Nwangwu: I did not exactly have a passion for poetry but literature in general. I consumed any book that piqued my interest, whether poetry, prose or drama. I think continuous reading motivates you to write. One of the first complete poems I wrote was in JSS1. Nothing special happened before that. I just picked up a pen.
I must mention however that I was deeply inspired by my elder sister. She kept a red book in which she wrote beautiful poetry. I remember the titles and I remember the words, I felt like if she could write so well at such a young age, then maybe I could someday.


KD: What are some of the challenges you face as a poet? What steps do you take to overcome them?

Nwangwu: The dreaded writer’s block. The start that you are afraid you cannot finish. The words not fitting or sounding right. The gnawing fear that you might one day be unable to produce poetry. I face these ones.
I try to be patient with my poetry. I keep trying until it sounds right. I usually finish a poem I start. If I am blocked, however, I leave it. I read any kind of literature that usually motivates or spurs me and then I go back to it. I write for myself so I try not to put pressure on myself. If the words come today, I will put them on paper but if not then hopefully tomorrow.

KD: Who are some of the literary figures that inspire you/you look up to?

Nwangwu: I think I am blessed to have been born in a world in which Chimamanda Adichie and Chinua Achebe lived. Their books inspired me and showed me that my story too can be represented in literature. I adore the modern poetry of Warsan Shire, Rupi Kaur, and Ijeoma Umebinyuo.


“Believe in your dream; believe you have something to say to the world. Don’t put down the pen.”

KD: In 2017, you won first prize in the poetry category of Kreative Diadem’s annual writing contest. How did you feel about winning?

Nwangwu: I was surprised to be honest. I usually do not put my mind to these kinds of things. I try not to get my hopes up so that I do not suffer a huge disappointment if things do not work out the way I want. I was pleasantly surprised. It gave me confidence that my poetry was indeed good. My elder sister always praised my poems but she has to, I am her little sister. Winning an actual competition gave me a bit of external validation and I am eternally grateful.

KD: Let us get down to your poem. What was the inspiration behind Lights Out? Was there a specific message you intended to pass along to the reader?

Nwangwu: I remember there was a fuel scarcity at the time and I passed a fueling station around where I live. There were so many cars at different angles, filled with different people. Others were carrying jerry cans and they looked determined to get petrol that night no matter the cost. I think I just went home that night and started to write.
I tried to capture the plight of different classes of Nigerians and how we are collectively affected by the poor power sector. I want my reader to connect with the problems posed by the power sector in Nigeria and vow to do better if put in a position in power. I hope that anyone who reads the poem, in general, feels motivated to make a change for good in Nigeria.

KD: Apart from winning first prize in the poetry contest last year, what are some of your other achievements? (Awards, nominations, published works, etc.)

Nwangwu: I made the longlist for the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize in 2016. My essay My Book Affair was published on TheAfroReader, a literary blog in 2017. I am really hoping for more accolades.

KD: What are some of your long-term goals as a writer?

Nwangwu: Well, I honestly would like to write a lot more. I want to move into the prose genre fully and it would be amazing to be published by the New York Times for my work. I would like to publish my first novel at 25.

KD: Are you currently working on any poems/books at the moment?

Nwangwu: Yes, I am.

KD: What advice would you give to aspiring poets like yourself, especially in Nigeria?

Nwangwu: Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep motivating yourself, because you will not always receive encouragement from your peers. Believe in your dream; believe you have something to say to the world. Don’t put down the pen.


KD: What do you think about Kreative Diadem?

Nwangwu: I applaud anybody, society or organization that celebrates the aspiring Nigerian writer. I love that Kreative Diadem does this by publishing poems and short stories, encouraging submissions and organizing competitions in an effort to award literary excellence. I hope that Kreative Diadem keeps up the good work.


KD: Any final words?

Nwangwu: Step out of the ordinary.


MAY THE LAND BE TRULY SECULAR by Kamarudeen Mustapha

MAY THE LAND BE TRULY SECULAR by Kamarudeen Mustapha


by Kamarudeen Mustapha

We peel peace layer by layer
Till nothing remains of our sanity
We betray all orderliness at home
Till gloating terror ambushes our
bravest hopes
Then, we start again
We pile terror layer by layer
On pedestals of our bravest hopes
Until we hatch heartless wars
Shrouding us front and black
In our fray for self justification
We have disemboweled the deodorant air
We let loose the flatulent bowel
Of the Mongudu mammoth
Choking us with horrors hovering
All over our space



Only Leah Sharibu has some faith
In the land’s claim to be secular
She told the heart of terror
“I am a Christian and I deserve to live …”



O let her faith suffice her
And may the land be truly secular
Like the God of Peace bides
“No compulsion in religion.”




 Kamarudeen Mustapha writes short stories and poems. He is a teacher based at Ibadan, Nigeria. His poems and short stories have been published in Our Poetry Archive, African writer.com and Setu inline magazine. He had also had poems published in few anthologies apart from self-publishing some children story books like Zinari the Golden Boy, Winners Never Quit and The Magic Bird among others.

KOOWE’S CRY by Seyi Omotoso

KOOWE’S CRY by Seyi Omotoso


by Seyi Omotoso

Hear the sonorous voice as it re-echoes in the distance
The deadly release that murders our hearts
Hear it again and again – Koowe – the horrified bird that sings and you die
Hear the ancient spirit that talks in tears
Before you’d say I did not tell you
Turn the left if your right ear has been eating from them
Long you suffer, here comes freedom
For I fear your itchy hands that prostrates to anything that buys bread
And your cracked throat that thirsts for their wine – in the eve of the election – rushing their indomie of lies again – drinking back your curses all years – killing yourself!
Koowe is here again – O – with a cry
She’s crying and crying and she would not stop
Shouting and shouting and she would not cease
Singing and singing and she would not stutter


Hear on a mission, you obey or you die
For I fear your heart that lives in Israel but marries the Philistines
Your mouth that jugs while ours stood, filled with all that’s bitter,
with holes by its sides, like the hollow of a calabash
You’re wicked!
If you read these lines and plead for their money
Wicked, if you turn deaf ears
Wicked, if you rush our souls with their indomies
Koowe is crying and she would not stop



Seyi Omotoso is a seasoned poet and writer. 
Though he currently studies Physics in the Lagos State University, yet, his love for poetry knows no bound. 
Over the years, his works have appeared in some notable online platforms like 
Kreative Diadem, OYA Magazine, Acceleratetv among others. He’s currently working on his first novel.

CRIMSON by Uche Osita

CRIMSON by Uche Osita

CRIMSON by Uche Osita

October 2008


Do you remember the way I used to hold your hand? Do you recall how I kissed you the day you told me that your father had finally left your mother? How tender our lips; rubbing off the loss that you knew could only be stayed for so long. Do you remember how we used to hug and hold on for eternity, not wanting, not needing anything else in the world? Do you remember the faint scent of chocolate that filled the room each time you visited? Adaeze, the rhythm of fate’s music has played far too loud and now I am scared. I fear that I am holding on too much, to these things, these feelings, and these memories. Maybe I am unfortunate. Or maybe Mama’s admonitions finally made manifest.

Do you remember the time when you said you would never leave me, was it all a lie?

It is true all I see now is darkness, it is also true I may never be able to live out all the dreams I talked about when there was light but Adaeze, the only darkness I truly see is the one that I know your absence has caused.


Adaeze, I love you.

I believed in God when I was little. When all Mama could talk about day and night was how wonderful God was, how grateful we were to have a father that stayed home and how kind God had been. Papa stayed home alright, but only because he was jobless. He also had a ferocious temper that hit Mama hard, all the time.

When I finally got a scholarship to study at the University, I felt a deep relief that I could not express in words. I promised Mama I would never let her down. She saw in me, hope, a reaffirmation that her belief in God was not unfounded. She, however, warned me against girls, no girls she insisted, not until you are done. I had agreed. It was so easy agreeing to something I had yet to give serious thought.

I kept her promise until the day I met you. When I first saw you I knew I would never keep her promise. You were so happy and carefree and I was burdened with my background and expected responsibilities. But you accepted me for me. You did not mind that I had quaffed kai kai with the boys in the slum. The fact that my father was jobless, that I had eleven siblings and a breadwinner mother whose only source of livelihood was selling matchboxes, cheap biscuits and sweets.


Adaeze, did you know that I have been waiting for 2 years to reach you? You blocked me from calling and you have not been in town all these while. I have been learning to deal with this new condition our love has bought me. Quite frankly it is not half as bad as I imagined. I do not speak as much since I can’t always tell whether I am being spoken to, but I also think a lot. I now take slow measured steps, and I am vaguely aware of time from the heat intensity of the sun and Mama hasn’t completely forgiven me since then.

I started learning to write with an old typewriter papa used to work with in his early days as a typist. It was a very trying experience, having to feel and guess and feel again. I have persevered mostly because I wanted to one day write you this letter. I am sure that you are reading and partly because I suspect that this curse may well not be the end. Adaeze, I am going to become a writer. Ever since I learnt how to type, I have been practicing, day, noon and night. I have written and rewritten ever since and I have strong thoughts to take some of my products for appraisal. Even though for me, there would always remain a vague memory of light -past, this new hope brews a thick fire in my heart and I am determined to guard its flames.

How have you been? I sincerely hope that life has served you a better dish than it did me. But perhaps you suspect my motives. But I assure you, 2 years is a very long time. And writing you is my way of moving on, of trying to forget. I woke up this morning feeling mildly grateful, Mama just got better, she has been down with a fever since last week and the doctor just called. I have in consequence come around to thinking about how much I have undervalued the little things that I have had; life, peace, family. Though, I wish I could have more, still I suppose I should be grateful for the little I have.

The world has changed a lot and me with it. And I have chosen not to allow our past to dictate whatever happens next.


How can I blame you? All you did was love me. And sometimes when I remember the times before; the times when there was light; I grope around in the darkness searching for hope, for you…


Still, when I sleep at night my dreams are crimson. There is an indistinguishable shadow that I suspect to be you, it reaches out and I come forward. Then I am forced back by another shadow, this one I know to be Musa. It reaches for me, I raise a hand and try to stop it, but it is quicker. It reaches for my eyes and then there is darkness.


Uche Osita is a creative writer. His works have been published in Kalahari Review, African writers, Mu-Afrika journal of African literature, The crater library, Nwokike literary journal, and Pulse.ng.

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IM-PRESSED by Oredola Ibrahim

IM-PRESSED by Oredola Ibrahim


by Oredola Ibrahim
Faceless arrogant burdens
glean your back to a bed of thorns.
… as you roll from side to side, Negotiating with pangs feeding on your empty heart—

You run a million probabilities of where you could have been,

except this haunting perilous room—

your last and only haven.


The internet is a graveyard—


With extravagant tombstones

lighting your path…

The reactions of these waves are horrific—
even for the best surfers.
Entombed thumbs cover their griefs with
masks of mealy wreaths.
Priest—wake up!
Before your followers RIP
your timeline with their blank


Oredola Ibrahim writes from Asaba in Delta State. His works have appeared on Praxis Magazine Online, VoicesNet, Kalahari Review, Poetryzoo, Kreative Diadem and elsewhere. He co-edited a Yoruba literary collection titled Àtẹ́lẹwọ́ Pélébé (www.atelewo.org) in 2018 and he has equally contributed to many other literary collections within and outside Nigeria. He holds a law degree from the University of Ibadan. He can be reached on ibrahimoredola@gmail.com.

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