Amby Ezem is a Nigerian born author who was raised in Nigeria and the UK. The 25 year-old author who is a pharmacist spoke with CHIKA MEFOR on her passion for writing and her plans to donate proceeds from her books to indigent students.
What informed your writing of the three books?
It started off as a thought or dream that by my 25th birthday, I should have written three books. The thoughts started gathering
momentum when I came back to Nigeria from the United Kingdom. Since they are prose, poetry and short narrative, I think it is better to launch the three together.
How did you became a writer?
I started writing when I was in the Primary school. I was about eight years old. I took that from my grandfather. He kept journals and had a shelf. My mother is a bookworm. So I started reading when I was younger.
But you are writing at an age where social media has taken over and people don’t read books. Aren’t you worried?
Actually, despite the social media, I see that a lot of people are
still going back to books. I was initially skeptical about releasing
my books, because of social media. But I discovered that more youths are beginning to encourage reading more than I expected. The social media also helps about getting the information out there. There are electronic books as well for those who do not like the hard copies. So it helps as well.
So, what are your favourite themes?
The three books, I would say, are for three different audiences. The first one is relationship, while the second one is about culture, family and marriage. The third is about religion.
How do you think these books are going to change government policies and people’s perceptions?
I think it will help a lot. For the second book, I talked about politics and the fact that the people in authority tend to separate their families from what is on ground.
In that sense of separation of families for greener pastures, I discovered that the families do not understand what is going on out there.
Which of your books was the most favourite and challenging?
The second book – ‘My name is Chizaram’. It was difficult because had to go back to my roots. I had to go back to my childhood. I really enjoyed working on it. I had to do about 150 drawings to illustrate the books.
Who financed the books and what will you do with the proceeds of the books?
They were financed by me; from my savings while in the UK. I want to use the proceeds to partner with the Lively Hope World Outreach scholarship scheme and donate the money to them. I am not writing for commercials as of now; it is for charity.
Let’s look at your venture into charity. What is it about?
The foundation I’m partnering with is Lively Hope World Outreach. It is a partnership with my parents. It has been around for almost 15 years. What they do is building solid hopes for the future.
So they have done medical outreaches. They have sent 40 students to the universities. Most of them have been privately funded. They have done orphanages visit. They do music competitions and they give monetary prizes. So I decided to partner strongly with them and give them out of my savings.
What exactly are you going to put in?
I have been having meetings with embassies and partnering with organisations.
What are the criteria for the selection of students?
So, the 40 students are from accounting, medicine, law, pharmacy and others. They are involved in examinations that will select the best.
There is a slot for the Theatre Arts. They are from the federal universities.
The visits to the orphanages are done by identifying some local orphanages. The next outing or programme will be the music competition and scholarships which happen in October from December.
Do you also write on politics? Since you came back, have you had any thought about the political situation in Nigeria?
Yes, coming back, I have seen alot; the crises and the noise about the elections, the Permanent Voter Cards, the groaning, the grunting, the people and everybody. I have also seen poverty.
My suggested solution is that I don’t know how possible it is going to be, but the mindset of the people needs to change. No matter the government in power and its promises, the mindset of the people needs to be worked on.
What is your educational background?
I finished from the University of Reading. I did my first degrees and my masters in Pharmacy.
What are some realities you have seen since you came to Nigeria?
One thing I see here is connections. Connection is what I see is dominant in this country. You must know someone that knows someone.
For me, I was lucky to know people. But I keep thinking that what about those who do not have all this connection? It is good to be fair to them also.That is something that I actually noticed.
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