Nnedimma Ezenwa-Ohaeto is from Akwa, Anambra State in Nigeria. She says that her brother, Chinua, motivated her to write and enter for the Babishai 2017 haiku prize.
What drew you to enter for the competition?
I don’t think it is “what” but “who”: it has always been my brother, Chinua, who always wants me and our other siblings to write, express ourselves and enter for competitions. He loves competitions. Making it into the shortlist has been a great joy to me. My entries― although my first time of trying haiku― were edited by Chinua, who gave it its taste and quality.
Do you have a particular personal story with haikus?
Yeah, I do. It was really difficult, for me, writing haikus because it was my first time. I remember how I birthed them: one particular night, I couldn’t sleep, and in the bid of wanting to kill time by doing a thing rather than just lying in my bed, I picked a paper and wrote just three, and one of them got me onto the shortlist.
What do you feel towards the shortlist in general?
Wooow! But I feel great. I feel appreciated. I feel I can write more. I feel my tiny and shy voice can make a difference.
What motivation do poets need, to keep writing, in this ridiculously competitive world that vies for their attention?
Motivation poets need, for me, to keep writing: read more, listen to their feelings, and allow themselves be absorbed by their environment(s). In this way they can reflect their inner selves and society in which they find themselves through their outputs.
If your 2017 submission was food, what would it be?
It would be fried rice decorated with chicken.
Her 2017 haiku submission is here:
break the quiet of night:
an old man deserts his armchair
The full winning haikus are here: