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The MFA Chronicles: Chibuike Ogbonnaya 

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The MFA Chronicles: Chibuike Ogbonnaya 

The MFA Chronicles blog series offers perspective on the experiences of Nigerian writers who are currently on MFA programs, shedding light on the challenges and rewards of such a journey. 

Nigerian writers who aspire to pursue their writing dreams can gain valuable insight into the application process, program selection, cultural and language barriers, and how to overcome them.

This month, I spoke with Chibuike Ogbonnaya.

zmvBGZSPlfqHd865rSKrNdxqTyRei7cm57 The MFA Chronicles: Chibuike Ogbonnaya 

Chibuike Ogbonnaya is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at the University of Notre Dame. 

What motivated you to pursue an MFA? 

When I applied for the program, I was juggling two jobs as a secondary school teacher during my NYSC program. At that point, I was unsure of my next steps in life, but I knew I needed more free time to concentrate on my writing project and research. I was drawn to the MFA program because it offered the space and time I needed to focus on my craft, along with a community of dedicated writers to collaborate with. Additionally, I was keen on learning creative writing and teaching it to others, as well as experiencing what creative writing workshops were like and how teachers discussed craft.

How did you select the program you attended and what was the most challenging aspect of the application process?

I based my choice of program on several factors, including the stipend, cost of living, the school’s location, the kind of writing they practiced, the teaching load for MFA students, and whether or not students could take classes outside the department. The most challenging aspect of the application was building confidence in my writing and managing anxiety, as well as finding the money to pay for the application fee.

How has the MFA program impacted your writing and creative process?

The program has equipped me with the language and tools to understand the craft of writing and use it to my advantage, as well as helped me connect with writers I’ve long admired from afar. 

Who are you reading now?

At the moment, I’m reading William Trevor’s Ballroom Romance and O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners. 

What are your writing goals? What are you working on now? 

My writing goal is to write at my own pace and enjoy the challenging yet rewarding process of writing. I’m currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel that explores intersectionality and spirituality.

What advice would you give to other Nigerian writers considering pursuing an MFA degree?

If you’re interested in pursuing an MFA degree, apply to programs that align with your goals and aspirations. Submit your best work, one that you have spent time with and truly represents your voice. Remember that your writing sample is what matters most and apply to programs that you genuinely wish to attend if accepted.

Interested in sharing your MFA experience with us? Please fill out the form here.


About the Writer: Precious Obiabunmo is a graduate of English and Literature at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. She’s the Digital Content/Community Manager at Kachifo Limited. Connect with her on LinkedIn

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