Book Talk: Achalugo Chioma Ilozumba and ‘The Women in the Mirror’
by Ifunanyachukwu Ozobia
On Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023 we held one of our Book Talks where award-winning author Achalugo Ilozumba discussed her play ‘The Women in the Mirror’ with students from Akande Dahunsi Memorial Junior High School and Ilado Community Junior High School.
In ‘The Women in the Mirror’ Nnenne, the play’s protagonist agrees to a meeting with Celina, her mother, and Mama, her grandmother to try and squash the war between her and her mother. Nnenne was in an abusive relationship with her ex-husband Chibunna and the lack of support from Celina drove a wedge in their relationship. Mama comes to Lagos to broker peace and Celina tries to get Nnenne to attend her sister’s wedding the coming weekend. ‘The Women in the Mirror’ addresses domestic violence, societal pressures, family life, and expectations while empowering the main character Nnenne in her post-separation journey.
Ilozumba read out her favorite passage from the book…..
….and then engaged the students in a discussion on how they felt about domestic abuse and what actions people should take in such a situation.
The students who were initially shy began to open up and presented their different views. Some said Nnenne made the right choice not to go back to her abusive husband while others thought there could be a chance for reconciliation and the importance of children being raised in a two-parent household. Ilozumba had a pleasant demeanour as the children spoke because the children had quite a mature outlook on the topic of domestic violence, one even suggesting that the couple could have gone for marriage counseling.
Once the discussion wrapped up we moved on to the five short-listed stories which were read by Mrs. Ayo Obe, a ZODML trustee.
After the reading of the creative stories that were based on the children writing an extension to the ending of the book, the audience voted for the best ones.
Prizes were awarded for the stories.
The students gave Ilozumba a framed thank-you ‘card’ to express their gratitude for the time she shared with them.
As we concluded the event, Ilozumba signed the copy of her book each student had been given.
There was a brief tour of the library. The students were issued library cards and the operations of the library were explained. They were then advised to start using the library as soon as possible.
We ended the event by handing out refreshments. It was a successful and interactive session where the students opened up and the author was content interacting with them and teaching the importance of choice in negative situations. She let the children know the choice is up to them to make after reviewing what is best for them and those around them. Ilozumba also gave important tips the children may take up in their writing. It was a day well spent in good company.