Drunk on Ink Q & A with Chika Unigwe and ‘Better Late Than Never’, short story collection
Chika Unigwe was born and raised in Enugu, Nigeria. She has written novels and Better Never than Late is her first collection of short stories.
About Better Late Than Never
Better Late Than Never is a collection about /around Nigerian immigrants in Belgium. Most the stories center around Prosperous and Agu, trying to make a new life in a country where they must learn new ways of being. It’s about friendship, community, love and loss. And everything in between.
SONIAH KAMAL: First author/book you read/fell in love with? Why?
CHIKA UNIGWE: First novel I remember reading cover to cover is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I got it as a 9th birthday present
To unwind: chai, coffee, water, wine?
Coffee is a necessity (as is water). Wine
A novel, short story, poem, essay, anything you believe should be mandatory reading? Why?
In today’s America, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘A case for Reparation .’ It’s a long essay that details in sharp prose how and to what extent African Americans have been kept out of financial mobility.
Any classic you wished you’d pushed through in your teens?
No. I read what interested me, what I had to for school. Reading for fun shouldn’t be torture. Life’s too short and there are many many many books to choose from
Favorite quote from your book
He thought he understood now what was meant by being swept off one’s feet. She was an undertow pulling at him. (Agu falling hopelessly and helplessly for Prosperous)
Favorite book to film? And why?
Shawshank Redemption. The film impresses with how much it expands the novella without appearing to do so. Also Tim Robbins has a lazy handsomeness to him
Favorite Indie Book Store/s?
My neighborhood bookstore in Turnhout, Belgium
The one think you wish you’d known about the writing life?
Nothing has taken me by surprise so far
Does writing/publishing/marketing get any easier with each story/novel published?
Not in my experience, no
Dog, Cat, Or?
I am a city girl , I love shopping , I love sunshine. With my family
Favorite painting/ work of art?
I love Victor Ehikamenor’s works
Any Lit Festival anecdote you want a share? A great meeting with a fan? An epiphany?
Do you have a favorite film, or two, or three?
What is your favorite Austen novel, and film adaptation? Why?
Recommend a Small Press and/or Literary Journal?
Kweli. Brilliant mag.
Last impulse book buy and why?
More Drunk on Ink Interviews:
Chika Unigwe, Better Late Than Never, short story collection
Anju Gattani: Duty and Desire, a novel
Christopher Swann: Never Turn Back, a novel
Zetta Elliott: A Place Inside of Me, middle grade fiction
Veena Rao: Purple Lotus, a novel
Tara Coyt: Real Talk About LGBTQIAP, non fiction
Maureen Joyce Connelly: Little Lovely Things, a novel
Molly Greeley: The Heiress, historical fiction novel
Donna Miscolta: Living Color, short stories
Mike Chen: Here and Now and Then, a novel
Ruth Franklin: Shirley Jackson A Rather Haunted Life, biography
Colleen Oakley: Before I Go, a novel
Emily Midorikawa: A Secret Sisterhood: The literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf, biography
Shabnam Samuel: A Fractured Life, memoir
Elise Hooper: The Other Alcott, a novel
Anne Boyd Rioux: Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, non fiction
Devoney Looser: The Making of Jane Austen, non fiction
Kristen Miller Zohn: The Currency of Taste- Gibbons Georgian Silver, coffee table book
Vanessa Hua, A River of Stars, novel
Chaitli Sen, The Pathless Sky, novel
Sonya Huber, Pain Woman Take Your Keys, memoir
Kathy Wilson Florence, Three of Cups, a novel
Sara Luce Look, Charis Books and More, independent book store
S J Sindu, Marriage of a Thousand Lies, a novel
Rosalie Morales Kearns, Kingdom of Men, a novel
Saadia Faruqi, Meet Yasmin, children’s literature
Rene Denfeld: The Child Finder, a novel
Jamie Brenner, The Husband Hour, a novel
Sara Marchant, The Driveway has Two Sides, memoir
Kirsten Imani Kasai, The House of Erzulie, a novel
Thrity Umrigar, The Secrets Between Us, novel
John Kessel, Pride and Prometheus, novel
Lisa Romeo, Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love After Loss
Rachel May, An American Quilt: Unfolding a Story of Family and Slavery
Rebecca Entel, Fingerprints of Previous Owners, novel
Jamie Sumner, Unbound: Finding from Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood
Falguni Kothari, My Last Love Story, novel
Tanaz Bathena, A Girl Like That, YA novel