Eketi Edima Ette is a gifted storyteller, writing coach, and the author of Chinda Ella, a Nigerian parody of the popular Cinderella folktale. She has also co-authored books like Beyond the Corner, and I Wish I Knew This Before I Was Fourteen.
A digital marketing and social media enthusiast, she also freelances as a content creator and has worked with several local and international brands.
Eketi is the co-founder of Meet A Need Empowerment Initiative, a non-profit whose goal is to empower, educate, and alleviate the severe lack amongst the underprivileged. She is also a mental health advocate and volunteers with Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative.
In her spare time, she travels, reads compulsively, sniffs new books, and admires red sunsets.
What part of your biography do you think is the most crucial detail in introducing yourself and why?
The part that states that I’m a writer. Writing is the gift I’m most fond of and the way I see and think of myself. It’s also a teeny-weeny-itsy-bitsy in-your-face statement to those who said to me that leaving legal practice was a grave mistake I’d regret.
How did you discover writing? If it was a particular sign, could you describe how it felt?
A series of events led to that discovery. First in primary school, when I’d write comprehension pieces during literature class and my teacher encouraged me. Later, in the university, when someone’s writing inspired me to start writing poetry. I stumbled into prose after a fortuitous meeting with a stranger online. He challenged me to write a story of a thousand five hundred words. I took up the gauntlet and here I am today.
Feminism remains an important topic in writing and literature in Africa. Do you identify as a feminist, and does it influence your writing? If yes, how, and if no, why not?
Do I believe in the social, economic and political equality of men and women? Yes. As for identifying as a feminist, I haven’t done so recently, due to reasons I’m not willing to share just yet. However, the core values of feminism are reflected in my writing.
You have a distinctive sense of humour and have applied it to promoting awareness on life-changing issues like grammar. This humour has also allowed you to have a marketing edge. Where does it come from?
It comes from my heart. Whatever the situation, no matter how dire, I always see the funny silver lining.
In your work, My friend, Ufan suffers from a mental disorder, you gave the storm of anxiety a new identity, exposing the unknown and dreaded. How do you think writers can contribute better to social causes?
By writing more about these issues, not like they’re on a crusade of sorts but as parts of our everyday lives. Imagine stories with characters who have mental illnesses and function well in society, living normal lives like everyone else. Not erratic and out of control like what’s usually portrayed in the media and in literature.
What is the most essential activity in your writing process and why?Procrastination (LOL). If I don’t have at least an hour of doing everything except writing, the process doesn’t seem complete.
As an editor, what are your three most significant pet peeves?
That would be the word ‘Am’, wrongfully used; switches in tenses smack in the middle of sentences, and purple prose. I really detest purple prose.
Why did you accept to be a SWAPng judge, and what do you look forward to in this responsibility?
Because it’d make me look good. I’m kidding. It’s because I didn’t know how to say, “Ah ah, why are you asking me to be a judge? Me, I want to win the money too nah.”
Okay, kidding again. I accepted because I love to contribute in whatever way I can, to the history of women in literature. Yes, I’m looking forward to the responsibility.
What is the inspiration behind “Meet a Need Empowerment Initiative?” What are your long-term plans for it?
The desire to make a difference, no matter how small. It’s amazing how much of a difference a change of clothes, a plate of food, or a job can make in the life of someone who’s never had any of these things. Long-term plans include a nationwide establishment of soup kitchens for the homeless and temporary shelters/skill acquisition centres for women and children who are survivors of abuse.
Which five books by Nigerian authors have shaped or influenced your writing career?
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Time Changes Yesterday by Nyengi Koin, Tomorrow Died Yesterday by Chimeka Garricks, The Gods Are Not to Blame by Ola Rotimi and The Concubine by Elechi Amadi.
What is your greatest literature-related accomplishment, and why?
That would be having people actually pay for my writing. Whether it’s my books or writing stories for brand promotion and advert scripts, I’m in constant wonder when people pay over and over to read the things I write.
What are your professional aspirations?
Honestly? Not sure I have any that I can properly articulate at the moment. I just want to write and be happy. If I happen to publish several books along the way and win the Nobel, then, hey, girl! Look at your fine self and all you’ve accomplished!