Brittle Paper plays host to yet another author. We extend a warm welcome to Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu, who is just starting out on a five-day tour that will take her through ten other blogs. Brittle Paper is her third stop, after which she will head head out to BooksLiveSA and Praxis Magazine For Arts and Literature. She is publicizing her novel titled The Domestication of Munachi–a drama-filled novel that explores a young woman’s struggle to break free from societal expectations about marriage and womanhood.

It’s such a treat to Ifesinachi here. Now I know you have lots of questions about the novel. The aspiring writers among us may have questions about the writing process and Ifesinachi’s experience with publishing. Don’t worry, she is on hand to indulge our curiosity, but here is what we are going to do.

First, we will give those of you who haven’t read the book a quick summary of the juicy plot. If you scroll further down, you can listen to Ifesinachi read a snippet of The Domestication of Munachi. Feel free to write any questions or comments you might have in the comment section. Ifesinachi will respond to you as best as she can.

Okay, let’s go!


Synopsis of The Domestication of Munachi

On a hot Sunday afternoon years ago…

…Two sisters walk in on their father’s sexual liaison with the family’s hired help which leaves them both scarred in different ways.

Years later…

Unable to bear the thought of marriage to a man she barely knows, the younger and more adventurous one, Munachi, runs away from home on the eve of her traditional marriage, unwittingly resurrecting a long buried feud between her religious mother and eccentric aunty. This conflict leaves a door open for the family’s destruction.

The Domestication of Munachi (DOM) is a novel about the unnecessary pressure on women to take on life partners, regardless of who these partners are and the psychological impacts seen through the stories of two sets of sisters—Munachi and Nkechi versus Chimuanya and Elizabeth. [If you are in East Africa, order The Domestication of Munachi here.]

Listen to Okoli-Okpagu read a snippet of the novel


NJIDEKA GOT ME thinking about my new lover. After sharing my body in the most intimate way, I was curious to know more about him. I was not sure I was ready yet to know about his family because I was desperate to keep that part of him away from our visits. I had asked about his full name the last time we met.

“Kolade Johnson,” he had replied with amusement dancing in his eyes. “Did you not look at the card I gave you the first day we met?”

Shamed stained my cheeks. I had looked at the card just once—the day I returned his call—and I had not even taken time to memorise his full name.

This weekend, as I watched him stroll naked to the bathroom, I resisted the urge to lean over and rummage through his things for any other information that I could tie to him. His perfume, rich like the smell in the air after rain kissed hot earth, teased my nostrils. We were in the same hotel we had been the last time and it occurred to me that this may be his lovers’ nest where he took all the women he claimed as mistresses. The thought angered me but humbled me as I thought of what this life could mean for me.

Few minutes later, he returned and slipped into bed beside me. He nuzzled an ear and I giggled as his goatee brushed my cheek.

“What are you thinking, sweetheart?”


“That was too quick a reply. You know what I am thinking?”


“I am thinking we should spend the whole day together since I don’t really have anywhere to go.” He gently pushed me up. “I got you something.”

A ripple of excitement churned through my belly as he bent over and retrieved something from the drawer beside him. He held open a little box. It held the most beautiful ear rings I had ever seen or owned in my life. Tiny gold lights twinkled in the seductive balls dangling from slender stems attached to hooks.

“Thank you sir,” I gushed and threw myself at him.

I felt—rather than hear—him chuckle before he gently pushed me away. “I gave Dotun some money to pay into your account. It should reflect by Monday.”

I was so excited that I blurted without thinking, “Your wife must be the luckiest woman in the world. You are so generous.”

A tense minute followed my response after which he stood up and started putting on his clothes in that slow, calculated manner of his. My last sentence hung heavy in the air. Forbidden.

“Where are you going?” Panic coated my voice.

“I have decided that I need to go home after all,” he simply said. “The driver will return to pick you up. It’s best you get ready.”

“KJ…I’m sorry.” Tears burned hot behind my eyes.

He gave me a wry smile. “You are young and there are lots of things you have to learn which I am ready to be patient for. But one thing you need to learn quickly is separating realities, my dear, because I find it difficult handling two realities at the same time. That’s why I am with you now. For this moment. Now. Here.”

He leaned over and planted a quick kiss on my cheek. His lips were cold. “For now, this reality is over,” he said quietly and left without looking back. His words felt like the caress of a feather across my cheeks.

It was what I hated most about him. He never looked back.


About the Author: 

ifesinachi - book cover photoAside wishing she could travel more often and she could stop answering questions nobody ever asks, Ifesinachi is a creative mom with the superhuman abilities to get bored when she’s working on a single project at a time. The Domestication of Munachi is her first novel.

In her regular life, Ifesinachi .O. Okpagu is a Lagos based marketing communications executive with over seven years’ experience, including being an Associate Producer of a pan-African TV show and heading the marketing communications team of an insurance company. She also serves as the chief custodian of the Lexiton brand with intellectual property in the media and entertainment industry. Her first book, a novella, was published when she was fourteen and was adopted as a secondary school recommended text in Delta and Ebonyi states.

She was educated at Queens College, Lagos, and at the University of Benin where she obtained a BA in Fine and Applied Arts. Ifesinachi also holds a Masters degree from the Pan-African University where she graduated top of her class. She has written several stories, some of which have been published in Sentinel Nigeria, the African Roar Anthology and Saraba Magazine.

She has written/produced several screenplays for the big screen and for television.


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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

22 Responses to “Join Us Today as We Host Nigerian Author Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu | Visit Brittle Paper to Ask Her Anything!” Subscribe

  1. Ainehi Edoro 2016/04/04 at 10:28 pm #

    Hi Ifesinachi,

    It’s nice to meet you and welcome to Brittle Paper. Congrats on the new book! From the little I’ve read, The Domestication of Munachi sounds like a beautiful book. I’m struck by the fact that it is a story about the lives of women and the pressure and abuse they experience. Would you say it is a feminist story?

  2. Ifesinachi 2016/04/05 at 1:43 am #

    Hello Ainehi,
    Thank you for having me here. I wouldn’t say it’s a feminist book, but it does have that feel. I’d rather allow readers form their opinion about the book and then let’s have an interesting debate!

  3. Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam 2016/04/05 at 3:08 am #

    Congratulations on your success with the universities. A Gambian State University Lecturer once mentioned that one of her students was doing her project on your novel. How did that make you feel?

    Do you think the themes explored in your novel will be an attraction for academics and critics alike?

    Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Ifesinachi 2016/04/05 at 4:10 am #

    Hi Chioma.
    Thanks for dropping in.
    I was surprised and elated to receive his mail regarding the project. It proves to me that the issues raised in the novel are worth talking about and dissecting academically. As an academic myself I was humbled by the news. So yes, I think the themes may just be an attraction for academics and critics.

  5. Hannah 2016/04/05 at 6:18 am #

    Hi Ifesinachi,

    The excerpt is quite delicious. Where can we get your book in Nigeria? Alternatively, any ebooks available?

  6. OMOVO ayoola 2016/04/05 at 6:22 am #

    Humm…. after listening carefully has you read through your novel, I must says it’s of interest to get a copy and follow up to the end of the story! Well done Ify,I am very proud of you been a mother and also having the time to write, including the up and down of the city.keep up the good work and God bless your family

  7. Ainehi Edoro 2016/04/05 at 7:45 am #

    I agree with Hannah that the excerpt is “delicious.” It’s lovely—a tender moment, a bit sexually charged, if I might add. Are there more erotic scenes in the novel? Do you enjoy writing these kinds of scenes? Is it important to you that the reader is given access to sex lives of your characters?

  8. Catherine Onyemelukwe 2016/04/05 at 9:39 am #

    Thanks, Ifesinachi. Given the names of the two characters you introduced in the snippet you read, I wonder if the novel touches on inter-tribal love and even marriage.
    I am a white American married to an Igbo man. When we married 51 yrs ago it was big news. Now it’s nothing.
    But the issue of blending cultures continues to intrigue me. I discuss it my memoir Nigeria Revisited My Life and Loves Abroad.
    Do you discuss this? Or if not in this book, in other places?

  9. Ifesinachi 2016/04/05 at 10:16 am #

    Thank you Hannah. I love the word you used to describe the book – delicious. I’ll remember to use this next time I am introducing my book 🙂
    The book is available online.

    If you would like to order a paperback, visit https://www.jumia.com.ng/parresia-publishers-the-domestication-of-munachi-2637090.html

    Thank you for your interest and the kind words!

  10. Ifesinachi 2016/04/05 at 10:17 am #

    Thank for your support, Ayoola. I am honoured beyond words! God bless yours too.

  11. Ifesinachi 2016/04/05 at 10:18 am #

    Thank you for your support, Ayoola. I am honoured beyond words! God bless yours too.

  12. Ifesinachi 2016/04/05 at 10:20 am #

    Thanks Ainehi.

    Like all romantics, I love tender moments and a bit of sexual sizzling energy. However, I am of the school of thought that if you can’t handle writing erotic scenes as well as you should, stylishly let it go. I can’t say I am an expert in writing erotic scenes, but I have learnt to describe chemistry the best way I can.

    However, KJ and Munachi do get into a lot of old fashioned mischief in the book…that’s all I’m saying for now 😀

  13. Ifesinachi 2016/04/05 at 10:31 am #

    Thank you Catherine.
    Wow, I can imagine how much buzz your marriage got years ago. These days, inter tribal marriage is not as much of an issue as it used to be back then, but it is still prevalent, especially in the Igbo areas of Nigeria.

    I am very conscious of promoting inter tribal relationships in my works. Hence, in most of my fiction articles or scripts, I am careful to pull characters from different tribes together. I believe that way, we can subtly influence the public towards accepting unity as a stepping stone to progress.

    Growing up, I was influenced by other tribes. My primary school education was done in a South-South state; secondary in Western Nigeria; and university was in Edo State. I am from the Eastern part. I guess these experiences have influenced my way of thinking to automatically pull characters from different tribes into my stories.

    It will be nice to read your memoir. How can I access it?

  14. Ainehi Edoro 2016/04/05 at 10:38 am #

    @ Ifesinachi:

    Here is the link to our interview with Catherine. Just in case you’re interested in knowing more about her memoirs and her amazing story. http://brittlepaper.com/2016/01/interview-onyemelukwe/

  15. Chioma Iwunze- 2016/04/05 at 10:49 am #

    Old fashioned mischief ? I’m smiling in Chinese.

  16. Ainehi Edoro 2016/04/05 at 11:28 am #

    @Chioma. Haha. I love that too. Nicely put.

  17. Okeke Okechi 2016/04/05 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi Ifesinachi!
    Having feasted my eyes on the excerpt, i could only say that this piece is sublime and heart wringing.

  18. Ifesinachi 2016/04/05 at 12:47 pm #

    @Chioma and Ainehi ha ha…

    Okechi, thank you!

  19. Okeke Okechi 2016/04/05 at 1:07 pm #

    Hi Ifesinachi
    What can you tell aspiring writers who face myriad of obstacles, about writing a ground breaking novel, like yours?

  20. Ifesinachi 2016/04/06 at 1:28 pm #

    Hello Okechi,
    Writing is one of those arts that you can only indulge in and work hard at if you have the passion. All I would advise is to keep stoking the fires of passion. And be prepared; always have a manuscript ready…for when fortune comes knocking.
    Thank you.

  21. Okeke Okechi 2016/04/06 at 2:43 pm #

    many thanks. At least you have said something that is germane about writing- passion. Indeed, writing without passion is like working with no strength. Therefore, the end product will be nothing less than gibberish .
    Once again, thanks. I am looking forward to working with you.

  22. Ainehi Edoro 2016/04/11 at 6:25 am #

    Thanks to everyone who made this conversation a success. All the best to Ifesinachi!

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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