Neha Patil

Emmanuel Chima Ugokwe

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Emmanuel Chima Ugokwe

Emmanuel Chima Ugokwe (born 1986) is a Nigerian novelist, poet, essayist, translator, linguistic and cultural entrepreneur, translator and actor.

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Biography

Emmanuel Chima Ugokwe born in 1986 to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Phinihas Ugokwe. He is from Uzii, in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo state. He was the eighth of nine children in a middle-class family. His father was a retired classroom teacher in a local school and his mother also teaches in a local primary school. His family is devoted to Jehovah's Witness religion and knew him with different names as he inherited from birth.

Chima had few childhood memories he could ever tell was joyous nor memorable. Life was different with his aged grandparents. They were his past he remembered with mixed feelings as he was regularly whipped as a boy as a way to correct his mistakes. Living with his grandparents was not his choice, but a sacrifice some of our parents made to their aging parents to appreciate them for seeing them to adulthood. He admitted that it was all fun though, fourteen years of painful pleasure, yet remembering that he grew an African child was something he was proud to tell and credited this early move in his success. Interestingly, it made him a good Jehovah's witness too. He admitted, it was a real discipline he needed to grow.

Chima spent most of his time preaching to people about his God, Jehovah, offering Watchtower and awake journals mostly on Saturdays at peoples door and do a full pioneering( a term Jehovah's Witnesses use for their full-time evangelizers).

He talk less about his educational background, but his high school had less academic standards. From a local community school in his village in Uzii, to Iheme Memorial Grammar School Arondizuogu for his junior high school and Osina Secondary school for his senior high school. He excelled in literature and few other subjects. He also did some university studies, trained in film production, journalism, digital journalism and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

After his studies, he taught briefly in schools, majoring in Basic Writing Skills and ICT. He also did six months training on Basic Writing Skills and Literature to student Refugees in Egypt.

He produced 2 films and acted in one for Zahara Foundation on Violence against women. Despite his training in film production, he never acted long nor involved fully in film, only that he does some scripting for producers in both English and indigenous languages. He is also involved in Igbo language and culture promotion and have worked for Igbo ga-adi foundation, Rotary Club and other organisations to promote Igbo language and culture, translated books and texts for local and international organisations.

He lived a more isolated life and involved with himself only, a habit, he could not outgrow. He started writing as a high-school student in what he called 'scribbling what i don't know'. Naturally, as a writer, he received a lot of rejection letters from publishers testifying he scribbled what he don't know. Yet, he had few admirers who read from his early works. He never knew about writing, he admits, but he writes. As a culture activists, he was interested in African culture and indigenous religion that he was said to be old as a young man. His style of writing differs greatly from that of his counterparts. While they write for today, he wrote for Africa's yesterday.

Finally he hit a stand with his first work of Drama, the silence within, in the UK in 2006. Subsequently, he had others stories, both long and short making inroad into schools, shops and hands.

In 2008, Ugokwe wrote his second book, Iwe Nwanne Anaghi Eru n'Okpukpu, an African-based story of two brothers who lived in different paths as enemies. Be it ever, they could come together again. Anger against one's brother does not last. The work won ANA/Nnamdi Azikiwe prize for literature in indigenous language that same year and was later published by Goldline and Jacobs in the US. The book is listed in the Indiana University African Book Awards Database and is soon to be translated into other languages.

That same year, he founded Popular Age Youth Foundation(PAYF). It was an NGO that sensitizes youths and children on education and empowers them to develop their talents. He has made writers through his mentoring program and was instrumental to so many of them winning awards in writing. Recently after visiting over 14 countries, he admitted that he has come in contact with over five hundred thousand youths in many countries and found one thing unique about them all 'adjustable, curious and bendable'. He finds pleasure interacting and giving them a reason to come back.

A lover of culture, Chima have worked with Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange Organisation since its inception in 2010 to sensitize Nigeria children on the need to see art and culture as instrument of change. It is an international project that is in the map of all the states in Nigeria and across the world. In one of his interviews, he could say that he is the greatest beneficiary of the project, not only as one of the winners, but a learner, in that he has grown to love people of Nigeria and their rich culture. It has exposed him to work many other organisations with similar goals.

In 2010, he was awarded a fellow of Ebedi. It was a six-week writing program in the small city of Iseyin, in Oyo state, with writer Igoni Barrett. It was to Ugokwe an added privilege in his writing career. That was the year he harvested so many awards, like the Princess Hastrup Prize for best Research Work and was a real Star in the best 50 Young Nigeria Stars essay writers in Nigeria. He was awarded Great Young Achievers by Commonwealth in celebration of Nigeria 50 years as independent nation.

His creative thinking kept him in the list of Intel Africa as an ward winner for the best idea in social innovation in his essay "Creating the Future we Want". The essay remain a work of art that have inspired many people to find a solution to sustainable life in key areas like education, environment, security, social issues and health.

At 30, he is not engaged nor have a girlfriend, but he is a feminist and have written extensively in the right of women in his essay and works like 'the Silence Within'. At one gathering, he was asked why he remained without a girlfriend and no fantasy, he simply called them "distractions". He doesn't smoke, nor womanize. He also does not drink and don't club and few other things that are common, but while those things worth doing, there are so many other things that matters to him.

Aside from winning INDIAFRICA award and serving as ambassador that same year, he was recognized as a distinguished writer by former Governor of Anambra State Peter Obi, alongside the likes of Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, Prof. Akachi Adimorah, Prof. Umeasiegbu and 20 other professors and doctors. It was a recognition that put so many people in doubt and questions as he was too young and unpopular.

He has won the Best Writer Award by Rotary Club India twice in 2013 and 2015 and second best in the world. As a teacher, he won in 2014, twice, 2013 thrice as teacher Champion and teacher champion award for excellence, in the US and UK.

His latest novel, Drumbeats of the Gods, published in the US, is making wider appeal to thousands of readers in universities and in Library of Congress.

Awards

  • 2006 – Happy News Essay Finalist 2006 World Movement for Democracy Essay Finalist
  • 2008 – Wordinaction International Writing Competitions Winner England
  • 2008 – Association of Nigeria Authors/ Things Fall Apart At 50 Art Prize, Nigeria
  • 2008 – Association of Nigeria Authors/ Ken Nnamani Prize for Igbo Literature
  • 2009 – Princess Hastrup Prize For The Best Researched Work by Nigeria Ship and Ports
  • 2010 – Wole Soyinka International Ethe Gods ssay Competition Prize Winner
  • 2010 – Nigeria 50 Stars @ 50 Award Winner
  • 2010 – Nominee for Young Writers Achievers Award for Nigeria 50 Years Golden Jubilee by Commonwealth Club London
  • 2011 -Writer in Residence, Ebedi International Writers Resident, Nigeria, West Africa
  • 2011 – Finalist for Ugreen Essay writing contests
  • 2011 – Zahara Foundation Essay Contest Winner
  • 2012 – Finalist of the First Annual Last real IndiansWriting
  • 2012 – Nigeria ICT Success story Essay Writing contests
  • 2012 – Short Story is dead writing competitions, South Africa
  • 2012 – Pendlewar poetry writing competitions, England
  • 2012 – Nigeria Saving Nigeria Poetry competition Finalist
  • 2012 – Remi Raji@ 50 Poetry Finalist
  • 2013 – INDIAFRICA Essay Writing Contest winner, India
  • 2013 – Nigeria Book Foundation /Peter Obi Literary Star Recognition Award
  • 2013 – National orientation Agency Essay Winner
  • 2013 – Rotary Club India, International Essay Winner
  • 2013 – Rotary Club India, International Essay Winner, best writer, Africa
  • 2014 – Teacher award for excellence by Living Forest United Kingdom
  • 2014 – Naija Writer Coach Quiz
  • 2014 – Teacher award for creativity What About Peace United States
  • 2015 – Teacher Champion Award Excellence by Living Forest United Kingdom
  • 2015 – Commonwealth Youth Fellow Award
  • 2015 – Faithpeace Essay Finalist
  • 2016 – Rotary Club India, International Essay Winner, best Writer, Africa
  • Publications

  • Iwe Nwanne Anaghi Eru n’Okpukpu – 2010 (Winner of the Ana/ Ken Nnamani Prize for Igbo Literature, 2008)
  • The Silence Within – published 2010
  • Voices of Love Letters from Africa
  • Folded into Silence (2008) 5. Poem for Goodluck Jonathan(Anthology)
  • Song of Sorrow
  • 2012 Pendle War Anthology
  • Short Story is Dead Anthology
  • Nigeria and ICT Experience Anthology
  • African Research Short story Anthology
  • Winter 2014 issue of Hektoen International Medical Journal
  • Winter 2015 issue of Hektoen International Medical Journal
  • Opendoor Series Collected Essays for Wole Soyinka
  • Drumbeat of the Gods 2016
  • 2013 Pendle War Anthology
  • Black Communion Anthology of African Poems
  • 2014 Footmarks: Poems on One Hundred Years of Nigeria’s Nationhood
  • Rotary Peace Essay Collections 2013
  • Rotary Peace Essay Collections 2015
  • He is not a social person, obviously because of his religious and cultural background, but he spent most of his time delivering speeches, working on his NGO, attending conferences, and working on his novels. He also continued winning awards, editing books for young writers and making public readings in Nigeria and abroad. His work with the NGO and children earned him a fellow of the Commonwealth in 2015, southeast president association of young Nigeria writer and SIA-Africa Education Exchange Program Assistant Country Program Director.

    References

    Emmanuel Chima Ugokwe Wikipedia


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