Friday, April 7, 2023

Chika Unigwe Interview - The Middle Daughter

Photo Content from Chika Unigwe

Chika Unigwe was born in Enugu, Nigeria. She was educated at UNN and KUL (Belgium) and earned her PhD from Leiden University, Holland. Widely translated, she has won awards for her writing. Her books include On Black Sisters Street and Better Never than Late. She teaches at Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
To ask questions, even obvious ones, without feeling foolish

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
The ‘when’: for as long as I can remember. The ‘how’: when I drove my literature teacher mad in 7th grade by writing multiple essays for the same assignment. She’d give us options to choose from and because I liked writing, I could never choose, and so did all of them.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Visiting places I would never have on my own and meeting readers.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
For many reasons but at the top is that it helps us make sense of the world

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
That loving your children isn’t enough to stop one from harming them

  • 1. The protagonist, Nani’s name is made up and I absolutely love it. If I ever change my middle name, it’d be to Nanichimdum
  • 2. Ephraim was called something else but my editor and I agreed that he needed a name change
  • 3. I wrote the first draft years ago while on a residency in Germany, the more recent drafts in the US and the final draft in Nigeria. It’s a book of 3 continents
  • 4. I found some of the scenes between Ephraim and Nani really difficult to write
  • 5. The DJ Nani fantasized she would have at her wedding is a real DJ. And he’s very good!
  • 6. I had arguments with the characters in my head, especially Nani’s mother
  • 7. I love that Nani is helped by a community of women, I only wish she’d leaned in to their help earlier (but then it wouldn’t be the same book)
  • 8. The Middle Daughter wasn’t the original title but it’s a much better one
  • 9. Nani’s mother looks exactly like a woman I used to know
  • 10. I didn’t know why the sisters called their father ‘Doda’ until I wrote the line explaining it
What is your most memorable travel experience?
Doing Hongkong in one day
When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
This mirror needs cleaning

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
Not being committed to my swimming lessons

Most horrifying dream you have ever had?
That I still had outstanding math assignment

What event in your life would make a good movie?
Meeting the King (then Prince) Filip of Belgium and not recognizing him

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Popping balloons

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
“Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

A lush, powerful tale of family and sisterhood from award-winning author Chika Unigwe, perfect for fans of Bernardine Evaristo and Tayari Jones

Udodi’s death was the beginning of the raging storm but at that moment, we thought that the worst had already happened, and that life would treat us with more kindness.

When seventeen-year-old Nani loses her older sister and then her father in quick succession, her world spins off its axis. Isolated and misunderstood by her grieving mother and sister, she’s drawn to an itinerant preacher, a handsome self-proclaimed man of God who offers her a new place to belong. All too soon, Nani finds herself estranged from her family, tethered to her abusive husband by children she loves but cannot fully comprehend. She must find the courage to break free and wrestle her life back—without losing what she loves most.

A modern reimagining of the myth of Hades and Persephone within a Nigerian family, The Middle Daughter charts Nani’s journey to freedom and homecoming.

You can purchase The Middle Daughter at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CHIKA UNIGWE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Middle Daughter by Chika Unigwe.

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