February 2008


Ekene Onu is the founder of Nouveau Africana, an online lifestyle magazine for African women. She was raised in Nigeria but now lives in Atlanta in the US. Her debut book The Mrs Club was launched in Lagos this month.

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  1. 1. Tell us about your debut book, The Mrs Club.

    The Mrs Club is a story that follows the journeys of three 30-something Nigerian women as they navigate their way through relationships, marriage and self-acceptance.

  2. 2. Which character do you most identify with?

    Actually that's hard. I know they say in most stories there is usually a character that is somewhat autobiographical for the author. I guess I can relate to Amaka in many ways but at the same time I identify with all of them for different reasons.

  3. 3. How did the book deal for The Mrs Club come about?

    Funny enough, it was only after I ventured into self-publishing that I received offers to publish the book. However I am learning so much about publishing by doing it myself that I am going to continue on this path and do it myself.

  4. 4. Describe the book launch in Lagos.

    In a word . . . Fabulous. Lagos is an amazing place. It reminds me of New York. Cosmopolitan, chaotic, but the place you want to be. Lagos women are very savvy, fashionable and sharp. The book was so well received by them it was amazing. There were women from 21-63 represented and they talked about how the book touched them by discussing things that are usually not discussed in Nigerian society.

  5. 5. How is the African voice different from usual chick lit characters?

    The main difference is simply the cultural nuances, in that way it's like most ethnic chick lit. These characters are motivated by the same things as most chick lit protagonists are but they also have the added pressure of having to conform to traditional Nigerian beliefs.

  6. 6. What African stereotypes did you avoid in your book?

    The stereotype that African women are all powerless victims, also the idea that African-Nigerian women are not formally educated and dominated by men.

  7. 7. What message do you hope readers will take from your book?

    That women are not defined by marriage. That a woman can be strong and beautiful and still allow herself to be vulnerable. That we as women are more than whatever society says we are.

  8. 8. What inspired you to launch Nouveau Africana?

    I couldn't find myself in any kind of media. African-American media while wonderful left me out in the cold because while I could relate to a few things, there were specifics unique to the African immigrant experience that were missing.

  9. 9. How difficult has it been for you to blend your Nigerian heritage with living in the US?

    Blending the cultures hasn't been a problem for me. I move freely in and out of the American and African community. It helps that they are a lot of people like me, what I would call first-generation African immigrants.

  10. 10. Do you have another book in the pipeline?

    I do, way down in the pipeline, still in the outline phase.

  11. 11. Who are your favourite authors?

    Gosh . . . That's a tough question, I read voraciously. It runs the gamut from Toni Morrison for the heavy stuff to Lolita Files for the lighter fare.

  12. 12. What book first got you hooked on chick lit?

    Bridget Jones's Diary, I loved it. The word singleton still makes me smile!

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