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On Adaobi Tricia Nwaobi, Author of ‘I Do Not Come to You By Chance’


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Two days ago, it was the allegation that one of the prominent senators had falsified his educational qualifications. He had lived in Canada for many years, quite all right, but the University of Toronto had no record of his attendance.

        Culled from I Do Not Come to You by Chance

[caption id="attachment_5513" align="aligncenter" width="400"]adaobi 2 Source: questionmarkmag.com[/caption] Born to Chief Sir Chukwuma Hope Nwaubani (regarded as the most-experienced Chartered Accountant in Umuahia, Abia State) and Dame Patricia Uberife Nwaubani  (who began her teaching career as the only black teacher in an upper-middle-class British school) in 1976, in Enugu (Nigeria); but was raised in Umuahia, Abia State (Nigeria). 1986, aged 10, she attended boarding school at the Federal Government Girls College, Owerri, Imo State (Nigeria); she then went on to study Psychology at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State (Nigeria). Adaobi started writing stories before age 10; she earned her very first income by winning a writing competition at the age of 13. At 15, she was awarded best poet and playwright in her secondary school – Federal Government Girls College, Owerri. But then, writing was just one of the many things she was good at, her other hobbies included chess, scrabble and singing. In fact, she was so enthusiastic, that she once boasted to a friend that she’d be the very best dish-washer if she ever got a job in a restaurant! Writing for Adaobi seems to be hereditary, as her mother wrote a novel (though it was never published); her godmother, Mrs. Angela Ukairo, co-authored a couple of textbooks; and Flora Nwapa, the first female black African to have a novel published, was her aunt. And in December 2006, her thirst for writing was re-awakened. In the next 30 days,January – February 2007, she had produced the first draft of her debut novel, I Do Not Come to You By Chance. [caption id="attachment_5514" align="aligncenter" width="292"]adaobi 3 Source: extranet.editis.com[/caption] I Do Not Come to You By Chance (2009), about a young man called Kingsley who seeks the assistance of his 419 kingpin uncle called ‘Cash Daddy’ to help his family out of poverty, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (Africa), a 2010 Betty Trask First Book award, and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of 2009. Adaobi also became the first contemporary African writer on the global stage to have got an international book deal while still living in her home country, and the first writer in the history of world literature to capture the 419 scams phenomenon in a novel. Adaobi was one of the pioneer editorial staff of Nigeria’s now defunct NEXT newspapers; she served as the editor of élan, the fashion and style magazine of NEXT. She was later appointed to the position of opinion editor. In 2012, she was selected as one of 15 emerging leaders in government, business and civil society from across West Africa, to attend a ‘Leadership for Change’ training program sponsored by the Private Investors for Africa (PIA). It’s important to note that while researching for her novel, Adaobi approached several publishers home and abroad (via the internet); and she signed with an agent shortly after. While she doesn't have any formal writing training, her novel has been used to teach at higher institutions around the world.   By Olusola Agbaje 

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