“You’ve got this. You’re good enough”— Interview with Daniel Ogba
As we anticipate the fifth edition of Kreative Diadem’s Annual Creative Writing Contest, we recently chatted with last year’s flash fiction winner—Daniel Ogba. Enjoy!
Daniel Ogba wants to move and watch and not stop, that is why he writes. He has writings featured in Ile Alo, the African Writers (now defunct), and the Muse Journal, No. 47. He is currently studying Dentistry at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Kreative Diadem: Who is Daniel? Tell us briefly about yourself.
Daniel: I really don’t know how to answer this type of question. I haven’t figured out fully yet who I am or am not, I don’t think anyone ever fully figures, and I am still in that process of knowing. I can only tell you that I am a firm believer, and I dream a lot.
Winner of the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (Flash Fiction Category)
KD: When did you first discover your passion for writing, what inspired you?
Daniel: It was my grief that first introduced me to writing. I lost my father when I was six, and so I searched for a way to keep his memory alive. A longing that his pictures alone weren’t sufficient to provide.
So I started writing about him, started building fictional characters around him- how he walked, what he smelt like, the kind of things he liked that I started growing up to like. Little acts that I didn’t ever want to forget about him, most of which are a blur now. I think that particular loss has reshaped every aspect of me, my writing inclusive.
KD: What are some of the challenges you face as a writer? What steps do you take to overcome them?
Daniel: I think the challenges I face in my writing are all in my head. Well, except the ton of school work occupying my schedule, and even that, too, is something I can overcome if I work hard enough to. I’m a very lazy person mentally. I’ll be unstoppable if I can be able to overcome my own self.
KD: Who are some of the literary figures that inspire you/you look up to?
Daniel: There’s a plethora of them. There’s Chimamanda Adichie, obviously. I really love Akwaeke Emezi for the genius structuring and plotting in her stories. I admire the unafraid-ness in Eloghosa Osunde’s works, something I’m aspiring towards. I’d give anything to live in Pemi Aguda’s head. Ope Adedeji is astonishing. TJ Benson is another remarkable writer, and I’m really looking forward to reading his novel. Chukwuebuka Ibeh is incredibly talented and sweet. The list can go on and on. I am generally inspired by work that leaves me in complete awe, or breathless.
“I’ll be unstoppable if I can be able to overcome my own self.”
KD: In 2020, you won first prize in the flash fiction category of Kreative Diadem’s annual writing contest. How did you feel about winning?
Daniel: I couldn’t contain my joy. The year had been terrible and so tough it had me already on my knees. When I saw the mail, I literally screamed and danced on the road, my friend thought I was losing my head. It was the news I needed that period after too many rejections.
KD: What was the inspiration and meaning behind Sing About Me I’m Dying of Thirst?
A Kendrick Lamar song. With Sing About Me I hoped to explore friendship, and the nature of families we create for ourselves outside of the family. Also, it had an underlying theme of depression; of the way people wrap themselves up in different layers and shades of fabric to mask the issues they’re inwardly dealing with, live up to society’s expectation that you appear fine, your struggles regardless.
KD: Do you have any other published works aside from Sing About Me I’m Dying of Thirst, as well as any other achievements you’d like to share?
KD: What are some of your long-term goals as a writer?
Daniel: The goal is one thing: to become a really good writer.
KD: Any forthcoming works or publications?
Daniel: At the moment, none.
KD: What advice would you give to young writers like yourself, especially in Nigeria?
Daniel: I wouldn’t necessarily call it advice. It’s something I picked from one of Eloghosa Osunde’s interview on Brittle Paper sometime ago, and made mine. “Any voice that says my dreams are not translatable to reality is a lie. I’m good enough. The only thing separating me from where I want to be is consistent work and discipline, not incapability.” Basically, just write, put in work. You’ve got this. You’re good enough.
KD: Any final words for Kreative Diadem and her readers?
Daniel: The work your platform is doing is surely the Lord’s work. I pray it continues. And you guys should be really proud. You’ve offered a stepping-stone for several writers to go ahead and do amazing things, it’s lovely to see.