Review: Ogadinma Or, Everything Will Be All Right by Ukamaka Olisakwe

(published 18/01/2021)

There’s something unnerving about historical fiction that feels like it could have played out just the same today. Though set in a tumultuous Nigeria in the 1980s, Ogadinma’s themes are sadly, infuriatingly, entirely too relevant today. After a rape turns into an unwanted pregnancy, which in turn is resolved with a dangerous and illegal abortion, seventeen-year-old Ogadinma is forced to leave her home in Kano to live with her aunt and uncle in Lagos. This is the preferable outcome, as opposed to some hurried marriage to bury the shame of the situation – because, of course, it is Ogadinma’s shame to carry, not that of her rapist. Lagos in turn represents new ground and opportunities, and a chance to fall in love; but this veneer is rapidly shattered as the many ways men can control women in this society are put on display.

[Read full review on Bandit Fiction]

You’re Not a Wizard, Harry: Demystifying Writing

[published by Kamena Magazine, 20/01/19]

The division between STEM and Art is often explained by something inherent, something natural, not nurtured. That some people have logical brains that can compute large amounts of data, and some people have artistic brains that output illogical, beautiful creations into the world. Some people are right-handed, some left; some people are scientists, some are artists. That it has nothing to do with want and everything to do with natural talent.

This idea is poisonous, not least in the fact that it grossly oversimplifies the human experience, but also in that it’s so wrong it stops us thriving in our chosen careers. Continue reading

Jonathan Edwards’ “Gen”: A Human Comedy

[originally published in Kamena Magazine]

It’s hard to find a funny poet – it seems that the vast majority of us are doomed to sit around bemoaning the sad state of the world as it is/was/always will be. It’s even harder to find someone who can be funny without being either superficial or depressing. But somehow, despite the many ways the world has changed for the worse in the four years since My Family and Other Superheroes, Jonathan Edwards has done it: he’s got me laughing again.

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Sports at University – Why joining a club is one of the best things you can do

[published in The Boar, 03/10/18]

The way I see it, there are three main ways you meet people in first year: your course, your accommodation, and the clubs that you join. My first year was pretty much decided from the offset.

Course: English is an absurdly large degree. There are hundreds of people, and everyone has to do the same modules for first year which means that you’re flooded with lectures of three hundred people. You’re lucky if you see the same person across two seminars

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Killing Eve: ‘insight into the mind of a killer’

[published in The Boar, 18/10/18]

When Killing Eve was first announced, I was cautiously optimistic. The premise was an enticing one: a crime-thriller show about a government worker chasing down a contract killer, with the two leads played by Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) and Jodie Comer (Doctor Foster) respectively. The idea of a female led show of this type sounded fantastic, though as someone who’s been scorned by mediocre tokenistic attempts in the past (Ghostbusters is a sore point) I knew that much was down to the showrunner. Enter Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

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