Ifeoma Chinwuba

Ottawa resident appointed 2021-2022 Writer-in-Residence University of Alberta

About the Writer-in-Residence program
This Writer-in-Residence (WIR) in the Department of English & Film Studies is the longest consecutive running programme in Canada. Established in 1975, the program has a distinguished history that maps the trajectory of Canadian literature. The Department has a dynamic community of student writers and scholars.
Successful applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada and must have at least one published book. Eligible publications include a complete book of fiction, short stories, poetry, drama, children’s literature, multimedia, graphic novels, creative non-fiction, or literary non-fiction that lends itself to a public reading.
The University of Alberta (est. 1908) is one of the top Canadian research universities and home to 40,000 students, studying for creative degrees in EFS, Drama, Art & Design, Music – in more than 500 graduate and 200 undergraduate programs.


In her own words, Ifeoma Chinwuba writes:

From child refugee to Ambassador; this is the summary of my trajectory. After the Biafra War in my country, I went back to school, studied the classics and on graduation, I was recruited to join the Foreign Service of my native country, Nigeria. As a diplomat, I travelled to over sixty countries. Travels which, in retrospect, were really field trips for me. I encounter cultures and civilizations much like a botanist in the wild encounters species. An Igbo proverb has it that a traveller knows more than the homebound white hairs.

I grew up with story-telling. In the absence of electricity and technology, adults regaled us children with tales of yore, entertaining and inculcating culture and good behaviour at the same time. I, in turn, have told these stories to my children; with the advent of the printed word, we commit our stories to writing.

I should mention that my father was a principal of a boys’ college. We had a library at home which he encouraged his nine children to visit. It was either that or a house chore. Reading voraciously demystified literature. I told myself if So-and-So could do it, why not me? They don’t have two heads.

And so, here I am, author of five books, made up of novels, poetry in dialogue and a juvenile novella. My Merchants of Flesh and Waiting for Maria have, at different times, won the Prose Prizes of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), while Waiting for Maria was on the Longlist of The Commonwealth Writers Prize, 2008.

I am coming to Edmonton as a scientist on a field trip – to scout for new experiences and to seek inspiration for my future literary exertions.

I am coming to Edmonton to leave material cares behind and focus on giving flesh to the literary skeletons that abound in my cupboard.

I am coming to Edmonton to interact with the community, to exchange ideas on literature and writing, to make friends, and acquaint myself with the province of Alberta and environs.
Thank you, University of Alberta, for having me as your Writer-in-Residence 2021-2022.

Source: University of Alberta

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