BackStory: Five Questions with Adachioma Ezeano

BackStory: Five Questions with Adachioma Ezeano
Author of Of Chinwoke

What inspired you to write ‘Of Chinwoke’?

I grew up surrounded by stories about the Biafra war. Stories about families that stayed together, loved, were almost unbroken, until a child goes with the war. My father, as a child lost siblings, watched step mothers pack their bags and leave because there is nothing else to live for. His was a polygamous home, but the type of polygamous home that appeared like a family tree stemming from the same root. And this is the story I want to read, stories about the war and about the children that lived at this war time. My father was a child at that time.

Who are your favourite historical fiction writers (flash or otherwise) and why?

I love, love Chimamanda Adichie ‘s Half of a Yellow Sun. It resonates with me, confirms parts of the stories my father said to me and my siblings. Well, historical flash, I love ‘The Garden Statue‘ written by Amy Barnes. I love the ‘Hanging Tree’ written by Chris Mill. I love walking down to the past. These writers and more did this for me in their own peculiar styles.

If you could live for one year in any historical period, when and where would it be, and why?

I like to think that I have lived before, that I am a comeback. I have a sense of being part of the past, the pre-colonial period in Nigeria. I would be a Princess, the daughter of an Idemili priestess, the woman snakes and pythons too listen to. The Idemili priestess is a very powerful woman tinged with pride. Her power rubbed off on the typical Igbo woman who is so assertive and confident. So saying I should be this for just a year is almost unfair though.

I love the Victorian era, and will want to be part of the royal family at that time and watch the plays I read today and wear corsets and crowns and strut down the stairs of kingly English sentences.

What, if anything, do you have in common with your main character?
Urm, we both love food. (Lol)

What do you think is the most challenging and/or rewarding aspect of writing historical flash?

The ability to create so much in so few words. Now that is challenging. Writing is a conglomerate of styles and variegated elements, and no one writing is complete without the necessary ingredients. So how does Flash fiction do this? Now there is the ultimate reward.

Adachioma Ezeano is an alumnus of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop and Writivism. Her works have appeared in Brittle Paper, Deyu African, 9jafeminista, Critical Literature Review and elsewhere. Her work, Becoming the Baby Girl, will be featured in the 56th issue of McSweeney’s Quarterly.

Image of Akara na Akamu (fried bean cakes and pap) via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).