“Don’t be limited by painful experiences. There is treasure to be found in darkness.” Amaka Chika-Mbonu

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We had our first Insagram live chat with Amaka Chika Mbonu on Tuesday and if you missed it, we can tell you for free that you missed a lot. Aside from the fact that we thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with Amaka, those who joined the live chat had the opportunity to ask her loads of questions which she responded to in detail. 

For those who missed the chat, and even for those who caught it, we decided to do a recap and also highlight the salient lessons learnt from that interview. 

What the chat was about? 

If you remember we featured Amaka Chika-Mbonu on our #WriterSpotlight series last year, when she released her book, ‘How To Get Your Wife To Swing From The Chandelier In A Red Negligée’. Amaka recently celebrated the first year anniversary of her book and we wanted her to share her journey with us.

During the chat, she mentioned that it took her 18 months to write the book. Can you believe that?

Here are highlights from the lessons we learnt from our live interview with Amaka Chika-Mbonu;

On relationships.

  • Follow your heart and take your brain with you.
  • If he doesn’t have integrity, core values and skills that align with you, then it won’t work.
  • Take the bull by the horn, and don’t be hindered by the culture of silence that tries to shame a woman.
  • Look well before you leap.
  • When two entities (people) come together, there must be rules of engagement.


On writing.

  • Go for your dreams, get yourself together and go for it.
  • Keep on doing what you’re doing and keep going not matter how challenging the journey may be. 
  • Use social media – Social media is a friend to someone with a low budget. Also find a team who can help you in marketing, so you can make money off your intellectual property.
  • Be passionate about what you do. Passion counts better than expertise.

On life in general.

  • You have to be convinced in your heart about things you do.
  • You should get to the stage where you can just go for it.
  • There is a purpose behind every pain and there is treasure to be found in darkness.

We hope you enjoyed this. Don’t miss the next chat and if you have not registered for our writing class, what are you waiting for? We have just a few slots left. So register as soon as possible! 







Books, Fun and Food At The Book Banters With Nkiru Olumide-Ojo

We were excited when we received an invitation from Roving Heights to attend The Book Banters with Nkiru Olumide-ojo. What’s better than hanging out with other book lovers at a bookshop? Maybe reading the books perhaps.

The event took place yesterday on Sunday 28th of January at Patabah Bookshop in Surulere. For those who attended, you’ll agree with us that the book reading was one of a kind. The event was not only highly educative and enlightening, it was also filled with fun conversations and loads of refreshments. You know what they say, when books, fun and food come together, they make history!

For those who didn’t attend, really where were you? To be honest, you did miss a lot. The author of the book, Nkiru Olumide-Ojo read portions of the book as shared the inspiration behind the book. She also gave some useful tips to the women present, admonishing them to be strong and be courageous enough to go for what they want.

On mentoring, she said, “Look at the person’s journey and what you can glean from it.”

When asked why she chose the title, ‘The Pressure Cooker’ for her book, Mrs Olumide-Ojo’s answer was simple – she felt she was under so much pressure, like she was boiling in a cooker, and it inspired her to write the book, to encourage other women out there who are also under pressure, and to teach women how to juggle it all together.

The host of the event, Olive Emodi really did a great job in steering the conversation to the right direction causing the author to share deep insights from her book.

The beautiful event ended with photographs and a book signing. Well done to the Roving Heights team. You rock!


If you would like us to attend your book reading or book club event, please send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com. 


“Rejection can be life sustaining if you look at it as fuel for the fire” – Bernice L. McFadden


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It’s not every time you get to talk to a writer who has authored nine critically acclaimed books, including SugarThe Warmest DecemberGathering of Waters (one of The New York Times Editors’ Choice Books of 2012), and Glorious, which was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and was a contender for the NAACP Image Award. This writer, Bernice L. McFadden is a three time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of multiple awards from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). 

Isn’t that AMAZING? 

If you have ever been rejected as a writer, you need to read this interview. Bernice got seventy five rejection letters for one book!

You see why this interview originally published on Writers Write is a must read? Bernice shares her journey as a writer and there is a lot to learn from it.

Before the Book

My home life was very tumultuous. And I spent a lot of time in the library. That was a safe haven for me…I sought refuge in books and in writing…I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was about nine. I would steal my mother’s Jackie Collins books and mimic them. That was kind of like erotica. My mother would read this and be horrified. 

Enter the Agent

When I was about twenty-five I started submitting on a regular basis. I submitted Sugar for over ten years and got over seventy-five rejection letters….I didn’t give up because this was what I really wanted. I sent my first agent a query letter on February 9, Alice Walker’s birthday. A magical day for me…When I got an agent it took him two weeks to get me a two book deal.

Favorite Book You’ve Written

I love them all differently. If I had to pick I would say Sugar because it was my first. The Warmest December is also a favourite because it was about my family…Tony Morrison wrote a blurb for it, so that was a big thrill.

Describe Your Writing Process

I write and research at the same time…I’ll read things I that I find inspiring… I read a lot of poetry. I like lyrical passages. I spend a lot of time walking because a lot of the writing goes on in my head before I put it on paper. Today I walked so far I didn’t know where the hell I was. It’s a lot of research, a lot of reading and a lot of walking.

Knowing When a Novel is Finished

At the begging of my writing process I feel like I have people coming to visit. Like one or two people. When I am really engrossed in the writing my house is full…All I’m doing is recording what I hear. As I get close to the end my house starts to empty out. It feels melancholy and lonely without the character’s voices.

Hardest Sentence, First or Last

…The first sentence. It’s always tough getting started. Even though I’ve been doing this for eighteen years when I sit down to start a new project I’m a novice again. I’m unsure.

Advice for Writers

People feel that rejection is a horrible thing. Rejection can be life sustaining if you look at it as fuel for the fire. You should think, “I’ll show you.” It’s your dream and you should have it. Your time will come…Learn, acquire the skill. Your time will come. 

Farafina Books Call For The Submission Of Manuscripts.


If your dream is to get published someday. then this is for you.

Getting published has a way of pushing a writer into limelight, and gives the writer the opportunity to get his or her work reviewed and criticized. Every good writer deserves to have his book published, and every good book deserves to be published.

We all know the stress and struggles involved in getting a publishing house to publish a book, that is why we are excited to share that Farafinabooks is making it easier by calling for manuscripts.

So if you are a writer and you have been searching for the opportunity to get published, then here’s a big opportunity waiting for you to grab it. This is a great opportunity to finally make your publishing dream come true!

Have you written a great book and all you need is help to publish send your manuscript now.  It’s better to take the bold step now than regret later.

To send your manuscripts to Kachifo Limited, kindly follow the guide lines here – www.kachifo.com

This entry is open till the 31st of March.

All the best. 

Meet the judges of the 2018 Writivism Short Story and Koffi Addo Prizes

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It’s time of the year again where new winners for The Writivism Literary Initiative prizes will be announced. Ahead of the much anticipated 2018 edition of the event, the Writivism team has announced the six judges for the short story and creative non-fiction prizes.
Are you ready to meet them? 

The Short Story prize panel will be chaired by Shadreck Chikoti, a writer, publisher and representative of the Story Club of Malawi, sponsors of the prize. Others on the Short Story prize panel include Beatrice Lamwaka, an award-winning Ugandan short story writer and Emmanuel Sigauke, a writer, editor, and longstanding member of the Writivism Council of advisors.

Our very own novelist and memoirist, Akwaeke Emezi will chair the Koffi Addo price for creative non-fiction panel. She will be joined by Daniel Kalinaki, a journalist, biographer and CEO of Nation Media Group (Uganda) and Sumayya Lee, a novelist, editor and longstanding member of the Writivism Council of advisors. 

The eight judges for the Writivism Literary Initiative prizes for 2018 represent a diversity of backgrounds and the high standards that the two prizes aspire to. 

You can read the full profiles of all the judges below. 


Shadreck Chikoti is a Malawian writer and social activist. He was listed by CNN as one of seven must-read African authors. He has won numerous literary awards including the 2013 Peer Gynt Literary Award with his futuristic novel, Azotus the kingdom, also shortlisted for Africa Nommo Awards for speculative fiction. He was recently nominated by the Africa39 project as one of the “most promising African writers under 40.” Chikoti’s work has also appeared in several anthologies, including the Caine Prize anthology To See the Mountain and Other Stories (2011), and in All The Good Things Around Us: An Anthology of African Short Stories. He is the director of Pan African Publishers and in 2013 he founded the Story Club, a space for literary enthusiasts. He lives in Malawi with his wife and three children

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Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces. Her debut novel Freshwater (Grove Atlantic, 2018) has been listed as a most anticipated book by Esquire, The Rumpus, Elle, Bustle, and Book Riot, among others. Her short story ‘Who Is Like God‘ won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa.

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Daniel Kalinaki, is a Ugandan journalist, editor, trainer and author. He is currently the Nation Media Group Uganda General Manager- Editorial and was previously the Managing Editor – Regional Content at the Nation Media Group in Nairobi, Kenya, and editor the Daily Monitor in Uganda. His most recent book, Kizza Besigye and Uganda’s Unfinished Revolution, was published in November 2014.


Beatrice Lamwaka is the founder and director of Arts Therapy Initiative, a non-profit organisation that provides psychological and emotional support through creative arts therapies. She writes articles, short stories, poetry, and is working on her first adult novel. Her collection of short stories, Butterfly Dreams was launched recently. She is a recipient of 2011 Young Achievers Award. She was shortlisted for the 2015 Morland Writing Scholarship, the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing and was a finalist for the South African PEN/Studzinski Literary Award 2009. The anthology of short stories, Queer Africa: new and collected fiction (2013), which includes her short story, won the 26th Lambda Literary Award for the fiction anthology category in 2014. Her writing has been translated into Spanish, Italian and French.

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Emmanuel Sigauke teaches English at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California. Educated at Gwavachemai Secondary school in rural Zimbabwe and High Field High school in Harare, studied English at the University of Zimbabwe and California State University, Sacramento. He has been published in poetry and fiction anthologies, and his collection of short stories, Mukoma’s Marriage and other Stories, was a finalist in the 2015 NAMA awards, Zimbabwe. In 2015 he co-edited Roses for Betty and other Stories, published by the Centre for African Cultural Excellence (CACE) and is the sole editor for Sundown, the 2016 Writivism Annual anthology. He has edited various other anthologies, notably the African Roar series. He has been a mentor on the Writivism programme and judge of the short story prize. He is also the founder and editor of Munyori Literary Journal. Emmanuel is the Editorial Liaison at Writivism.

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Sumayya Lee was born in Durban and spent part of her childhood in the UK. She has worked as an Islamic Studies teacher, Montessori Directress and Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Her debut, The Story of Maha (Kwela, 2007) was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book – Africa and longlisted for the SundayTimes Fiction Award. She judged the 2016 Writivism Prize and is also the Mentoring and Residency Liaison at Writivism.

Please note that the deadline for submissions to the 2018 Writivism Prizes is 31 March, 2018.

About the Writivism Prizes

The annual Writivism Prizes are awarded to unpublished writers living in African countries for original fiction and nonfiction (2500 – 3500 words) and each prize is worth $500 worth. The prizes also comes with a residency opportunity for the winner to edit a manuscript that is then put under consideration for publishing by Black Letter Media.

All shortlisted writers will be invited to the annual Writivism festival in Kampala and their stories will be published by Enkare Review and Munyori Literary Review.


If you want to submit your work, here are a few dates to note;

  • March 31: Deadline for receiving submissions
  • June: Longlists announced

  • July: Shortlists announced

  • August 17 – 19: Winners announced at the annual Writivism Festival

All the best! 

This is how Suhaib Mohammed became a millionaire as a freelance writer

This is the year of being intentional about our writing; so how about this insight we found on Bella Naija to get you totally inspired. Not only is the interview inspiring, it provides useful tips for those who are ready to do the work.

Are you ready?

How he started

I remember the day I earned NGN182, 600.00 (or $550) in a single writing project on Upwork.

For many online writers from this country, that’s an unimaginable jackpot. It’s like a young student from a public school vowing to get straight As in their WAEC. You hear it, and you automatically think, “Nonsense.”

If you could make 182, 000 naira in a single writing job, you could build a career from your skills. You could quit your day job today, and eat three protein-rich square meals every day. In fact, you could even start traveling within Nigeria for sightseeing in places like Obudu, Tinapa, and Yankari National Park.

Nobody can earn that much. Nobody. Or can they?

When I called my friend and colleague, Jamila, earlier in January, and told her, “I want to earn 1 million naira this year,” she laughed out loud. An average freelance Nigerian writer like my friend would tell me, “Well, you can make it,” even though deep inside their heart they have some doubt. I myself didn’t believe I could achieve that feat.

But I insisted.





Here’s what to expect from The Sparkle Writers Hub in 2018!

Happy New Year Sparkle Writers! 

How are you finding 2018? Have you been able to write anything since the 1st or you are still planning to write something?

Whatever the case is, you know we’re always here to motivate you and keep you consistently inspired to write. This year, we have some special things lined up for you which are geared towards making you a much better writer and helping you to achieve your writing goals for the year. 

There’s just one thing we need from you aside from your commitment – forget about what didn’t happen last year. We don’t want to know whether you were unable to improve your writing skill last year or publish your book. This is a brand new year. Let go of the failures of 2017 and look forward in anticipation of the successes and achievements of 2018. 

Can you do that for us?

Ok. Let’s get right into the good stuff! Drum rolls please.

Introducing The Sparkle Writers Pro!

We’re excited to officially launch our support group for writers, Sparkle Writers Pro. For everyone who wants to seriously improve their writing skill or you need constant motivation to help you achieve your goals, this group is just perfect for you.  

Whether you are a beginner or an expert who has become rusty, you will definitely find something for you in this support group. Here’s a taste of what you should expect;

  • Daily writing tips and motivation geared at helping you to exercise your writing muscles consistently.
  • Weekly Facebook/ Instagram live taught sessions from successful writers, authors and publishers. 
  • Weekly/ monthly writing challenges to help you master the art of writing. 
  • Information about writing opportunities to help you build your brand as a writer. 

Trust us when we say this support group is going to be exciting! Most importantly, you will learn and be positioned to achieve your writing goals, no matter how big it is. 

Access to this group costs N10,500 for one month access, N31,500 for a year access (Yes, one year!) and N5,250 for one-off access (one day). If you enroll for any of our courses, book a one-on-one session with our writing coach or you attend our monthly class in January, you will be added to the support group free of charge. This is our New Year gift to you! 

To join The Sparkle Writers Pro, please click here or send an email to sparklewriterspro@gmail.com

Monthly Group Writing Classes 

You asked and we listened. Starting from this month, we will have monthly group writing classes (every third or fourth Saturday of the month) where you can brush up your writing skills, have access to our writing coach and you will also have the opportunity to network with other writers. 

The class costs N10,500 and we will only be able to take a maximum of six writers per class.

The writing class for January will take place on Lagos (Mainland) on Saturday 27th January by 10 am.

To register, please click here or send an email to thesparklewritershub@gmail.com . 

Of course, aside from this you can be sure that our daily dose of inspiration on social media and valuable content for writers on the Sparkle Blog will continue. 

Here’s to an amazing 2019 with lots of achievements for you as a writer. 

PS – Don’t forget, you will be added to The Sparkle Writers Pro Support Group free of charge when you book a writing  coach, enroll for a course or coaching program or you attend a group writing class this month. 



Here’s a sneak peek of the cover of Nnedi Okorafor’s new release – Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi

Cassava Republic Press recently revealed the cover for the African and European edition of Sunny and the Mysteries of Osisi by award-winning fantasy writer Nnedi Okorafor and we are totally in love with it.

Designed by Anna Morrison, this arresting cover is a rich blue, flecked with gold, that hints at the magic within the books pages. The sophisticated design and mix of colours will appeal not only to a YA audience, but to adults as well. At the centre of the cover is a beautiful image of Sunny in profile, illustrated by Greg Ruth, which showcases Sunny’s hidden strength. Layered over the image are Nsibidi symbols and a mysterious red spider, whose significance will become clear as the book unfolds.

The spellbinding sequel to What Sunny Saw in the Flames, published as the Akata Witch series in the USA takes us one year into the future, as 13-year-old Sunny Nwazue continues her juju training in Leopard Knocks, a city in Nigeria inhabited by magic wielders. With the help of her friends and her mentor, Sugar Cream, Sunny must harness her newly discovered powers to defeat Ekwensu, a terrifying lake monster who is determined to usher in the apocalypse. If that wasn’t complicated enough, Sunny must do all of this without revealing her true identity to her family.

We sure can’t wait to grab a copy of the second installment of the YA fantasy series!

Olumide Popoola’s book launch takes Lagos by storm!

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 On Thursday, 16 November 2017, When We Speak of Nothing, the debut novel by Olumide Popoola, was launched in Lagos, Nigeria, to a crowd of book and art lovers at Colours in Africa, 13a Musa YarAdua, Victoria Island.

The event saw Popoola read from her novel, which was published by Cassava Republic Press. She also gave an intimate explanation of the inspiration behind the book – which has so far been critically acclaimed for its beautiful use of language and exploration of friendship between two young black boys. Popoola explained that Esu Elegba, a Yoruba trickster god, was the inspiration behind the book and that the novel is voice driven and marked by its use of stream of conscious.

Afro-soul singer, OloriAfrica, thrilled the crowd far into the night while fiery spoken word and rap artiste, Ms Eva Johnson, performed series of poetry that intimately explored gender, feminity and love. The book launch was anchored by Classic FM #BookOnReview host, Benjamin Okoh.

See pictures from the launch.






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Who is ready for the African Writers Meet?

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There are a few opportunities in Nigeria, where budding writers, bloggers, authors, content writers, and poets can come together to network, learn from mentors and pitch their dreams to people that have the power to propel their careers into a quick start. The African Writers as an organization was created to bring these writers together and help them learn more about their craft so that they could grow and become recognized. The African Writers Meet was born out of the need to see these new voices rise to limelight.” – Faith Moyosore Agboola, Founder The African Writers.


DATE & TIME: OCTOBER, 28, 2017, 10:00AM.



The African Writers Meet “17 is packed with amazing activities. The first being the Conference and Panelist Session where notable figures in the literary space like the revolutionary Poetpreneur and Founder of i2x Media, the organizers of Word Up, Olumide Holloway, Top fiction blogger and author of bestseller novels including The Guardians of the Seals, Tunde Leye, Social Media Strategist and relationship and lifestyle blogger Elsie Godwin of elsiesy.com and Editor, Writing Coach and Founder of the Sparkle Writers Hub, Adedoyin Jaiyesimi will each give talks on how writers can build their brands in the different writing fields. It will involve practical lessons and detailed description of personal experiences which will be followed by a Question and Answer session to ensure the writers get the very best.

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The second activity, which promises to be very memorable will be the Pitch Your Dreams where aspiring authors, bloggers, content writers and poets will pitch their dreams to a group of panellists. These panellists will pick the most convincing and promising participants who will get amazing career boost opportunities from partnering brands. The authors will get free e-book publishing and promotion courtesy AW Publishing, the bloggers will get a complete rebrand of their blog and free SEO optimization courtesy OV Media, the poets will get free Audio recording of their spoken word pieces and the content writers will get a free individual and group masterclasses and placement for job opportunities in the Sparkle Writers Network courtesy the Sparkle Writers Hub. Others include performances by talented young poets and soulful artists who will serve as a source of entertainment and there will also be giveaways for winners of mini-challenges at the event. Amidst the numerous value it promises to provide, it will also be an opportunity for writers to network with one another and meet possible people to collaborate with.

The event is free but it is important to register to attend as only 250 spaces are available. Only registered participants will be allowed into the venue.

To Register click here: