Dike Chukwumerije’s writing story began early. Though he is an author of eight books, a spoken word, performance poetry artist and prose writer, He initially didn’t consider writing a career but saw it only as a way of self-expression. As a child, his ambition was to become a medical doctor. His early love for writing was inspired and influenced by his father Uche Chukwumerije who published a Pan-Africanist magazine and Afriscope from the 1970s into the early 1980s. His mother; Nwoyibo Iweka, a gifted natural storyteller and teacher helped him see magic in everyday things, his elder brother Che Chukwumerije, an avid poet and musician and his friend Onesi, a fantastic poet.
Dike was born in Lagos State where he had his primary and secondary education. He moved north to Abuja to study for a Law degree at the University of Abuja. He later obtained a master’s degree in Law and Development from SOAS, University of London.
Talking in an interview about his first time on stage, Dike said he felt a bit nervous, having to remember his lines with so many people looking at him but he says at some point, he lost that sense of self-consciousness, and just began to enjoy himself. “There is this sense of freedom that one can sometimes stumble upon on stage. It’s a very beautiful feeling,” He said.
He is a well-accomplished writer; his novel, Urichindere won the 2013 edition of the ANA Prize for Prose Fiction. He runs a poetry theatre production ‘Made in Nigeria’, which has toured many cities in the country. He hosts the Abuja Literary Society’s Book Jam and Poetry Slam. He has won several poetry grand slams in Nigeria, including the maiden edition of the African Poet (Nigeria) Grand Slam competition and has since 2013, hosted and directed the annual Night of the Spoken Word (NSW) performance poetry event. He also hosts weekly Open Mic performances which include a mix of acts from readings of short stories by their authors to musical performances, poetry and spoken word acts. Chukwumerije is regarded as one of Nigeria’s most prolific Performance Poet with the release of three Performance Poetry videos.
In that same Interview, he said; assisting fellow writers and writers’ organization immensely adds to his role as a writer and community builder. He also adds “Sometimes, as a writer, one is unable to appreciate the amount of work it takes to bring your work to an audience. But, working as an organizer of literary/creative events, you gain an appreciation of the entire value chain.
Dike Chukwumerije has made an impressive mark in his poetic career and there’s so much that can be learned from him. He recently on “23rd Nigerian Economic Summit” gained national and international standing ovation after he delivered wonderful poem about Nigeria in relation to Chinue Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart and the Center cannot hold”.
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