A Judge for the 2021 SprinNG Women Authors Prize
Jakky Bankong-Obi is a poet and Media Consultant from Kakwe-Beebo in Boki, Cross River State. Jakky lives and writes from Abuja.
Her work has been featured/forthcoming in London Grip, The Kalahari Review, Zarf Poetry, Gutter Magazine, Hobartpulp, Pidgeonholes, Pipewrench Magazine, Memento; An Anthology of Contemporary Nigerian Poetry, etc.
Jakky is also Co-Editor at Icefloe Press. She enjoys long walks, yoga & dabbling in nature photography. She is on Twitter as @jakkybeefive.
People’s philosophy or purpose always gives insights into their art and creativity. In 5 to 10 sentences, can you tell us why you write? What’s your creative philosophy? – If you have one.
I write because I’ve always been in love with words. For me, writing is basically a response to reading. I believe that my writing is simply what I am giving back to words, to language, to books, and to the way other writers have spun the wonderful worlds in the books I’ve read and will read.
Last year May, you tweeted, “A huge part of being a poet or even a writer is believing in a piece despite 34 rejections and then eventually finding a home for it. Glory be!” What are your writing goals – which have you achieved, what are you still pursuing, and what keeps you going?
I think every writer’s goal is to improve. It’s a craft, after all, and every craft leans towards its own mastery. And mastery is nothing but the alchemy of skill and spirit. My goal as a writer is my goal as a person – to live and feel my life as deeply as possible so that all my truths bleed out in the work I do. Then, of course, there are dream journals/publications, prizes, fellowships, certifications, but the core is building that connection with the words inside to strike a chord with the reader.
With the modernization of poetry and its inclusion of non-traditional styles, there have been discussions on what makes poetry, or “good poetry.” To some, a poem is good when a reader can unearth its meaning. To others, meaning isn’t what defines a poem. In addition, there are several other aspects of poetry criticisms that we can consider. With your expertise as a Co-Editor at Icefloe Press, poetry writing, and publishing experience – how do you define “good work?” Has your editorial experience informed or influenced the evaluation and process of your writing?
My analogy is that a good poem/work is like a journey with many sights to see. Sometimes the trip is short, other times it is long. The truth is we may end up right where we began or someplace else, and sometimes we get somewhere only to be told we need to take another trip. But undeniably, there are experiences to be had on the trip. Every poem/work makes you experience something. It is always evocative. It may obscure or clarify its subject matter using literary devices, but it is always saying or doing something. So, I ask myself what a poem is doing and how it is doing it.
I think editing always helps your writing. Editing makes you a more disciplined and, I think, a better reader. This, of course, helps with sharpening your writing as well. They feed off each other.
The narrative surrounding the black identity remains a single story of strife and pain. Edited by Wale Ayinla and Kanyinsola Olorunnisola, We Are Deathless: An Afropoetry Anthology is poets’ response to that.
We are aiming for a new narrative with a multitude of black voices speaking their truths in unison. Blackness is no monolith; it exists in various forms and we want works that acknowledge its cultural, religious, ideological and sexual diversity.
The title is inspired by Deathless, a song by Ibeyi an Afro-French Cuban duo.
SprinNG is accepting submissions between November 15, 2021 and January 31, 2022.
We are accepting submissions in all genres from Nigerian writers. You may submit between 1-3 pieces (of the same or different genres) for this period only. You may submit Poetry, Fiction (Flash fiction, Short Stories etc.), or Creative Nonfiction (Essays, Book Reviews etc.). Writers have the option of submitting on theme(s) of their choice. Work(s) submitted should not have been published elsewhere (on a literary platform, personal blog, or social media page). Please ensure that your work(s) are well edited and proofread.
For inquiries regarding publications email:
and we will respond to you within 48hrs.