People For Rent : Novelist at 21, Desmond Udeh is Nigeria’s hope

Meet Desmond Chidera Udeh — the a writer, songwriter, artist, storyteller and feminist.

Born on July 19th, 2000.

Yeah, this indigene of Umudibe village in Umueji-Ufuma, Orumba, Eastern Nigeria is a young chap. Schooled in Prize Mates Model Academy and Juval Comprehensive School for his primary and secondary education, respectively. He is a writer (novelist), poet, feminist, artist and songwriter. Ediale Kingsley thinks Desmond is another up and coming world class icon to launch forth from Nigeria.

Most of his works are generally about the African village life though he sometime carries his protagonists to the western world, advancing to topics like politics, feminism, colonialism, racism, religion, love and sexuality.

He writes short stories daily for blogs and his social media pages. People For Rent published by WORITAL is his first novel. He is currently studying at University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Why did you author this book?

To be honest, I started out writing this book as a joke. It wasn’t something I saw myself writing for a long time or even finishing up and then publishing, considering how I began – I was browsing through Facebook when I came across a write-up, a write-up with an African setting about a priestess who was pointing her staff of judgement at someone who was about to be sacrificed to her god at the dusk of the day, and then the person’s flesh and entrails would be eaten by her cannibalistic people.

The way the writer described, detailed and narrated the scene got my blood boiling with the urge to write, to just write anything, so I went out, bought a pen and book from a store and I began writing. Initially, I was supposed to write only a few lines, or mostly, a page or two. But a page soon turned into a chapter, and a chapter, five. And the more I wrote, the more the story broadened. Then I found myself slowly losing myself in the story. But gradually, I understood myself and my ancestry as I intertwined different storylines into one; one that had and made a purpose.

Once I understood what I wanted from the book, my drive then was to correct a wrong sentiment about Africa. I noticed from a very young age that people (and embarrassingly, some young Africans, too) feel that before western colonization, Africa was nothing and had nothing. This old and overused description of Africa being a barren or dry sanded land filled with half-crazy, dirty naked men, women and children that runs around, chasing wild animals with arrows and spears, and then gutting these animals and eating them raw with their fresh blood still dripping, and then would worship gods made from the dried bones of these animals displeased me.

These descriptions never fit into the Africa that I’ve seen, including its rural areas – my village and other remote areas – that I’ve been to. So I set out to correct some things, that Africa was and still is a land with rules and people with an amazing system of government. I set out to write about the Africa that I grew up in – a land filled with people with conscious rational reasoning, people who think before they act, and people so advanced that one would marvel at their brilliancy. In turn, I wrote what it must have been like for a generation of people to witness a change in their system and belief. I wrote how it must have been for the past generation of Africa to accept a new and unfamiliar religion.

Where can we get the book?

Well, there are many places and many ways to get the book. First, you can contact me, the author, via Facebook (@Desmond Chidera Udeh) or email ( for a copy, and I’ll have it signed and sent to you. You can also get it at Worital’s physical bookstore in Lagos. And you can also get it in some major bookstores across some states.

What process went into writing this book?

Writing this book was quite an experience. Since the book was mainly about the African village life, I encountered some difficulties in representing some things because they’re no longer practiced or in existence, and were ceased long before I was born. And the ones still here, I never fully understood. Luckily, my grandmother was around and was always eager to answer the unending questions I had about some things, a lot of things. Even then, I had to research constantly and ask questions, too, to fully understand and represent well what I was writing. In the almost two years period it took to write this book, it was all about me reading, asking, reminiscing, researching and pondering. Sometimes, I had to pause writing because I encountered something that shouldn’t be written hastily. Then I would take long to research, ask and read up, before I’ll continue with writing. But hey, I finally did it. It was hectic, yes, but it was fun, too.

Tell us more about the content of the book?

Well, the book follows the life of Amadi who can from a line of very successful men. To ensure that he and his family doesn’t ruin his ancestors legacy of being successful, he rules his family, especially his sons with an iron fist. Now, Amadi had faith in his first son, who was masculine enough to be his favorite. He knew that after he is gone, that the boy would represent him well. Unfortunately, his first son dies at the hand of a leopard. In grief, Amadi tries to make his second son whom he calls effeminate and weak to act more like his deceased brother. He tries to make his first son out of his second. He would often compare the boy to his late brother, telling him how different he is to his brother. And he would beat the boy out of spite. Soon, his second son grows rebellious, and after a new belief was brought into their clan by Christian missionaries, the boy finds solace in this religion and joins it to spite his father. The book tells the story of how Amadi handled the belief that was supposedly corrupting the people of their clan, while simultaneously, trying to straighten his rebellious son.

Are you a first time author? Otherwise, how did your first book fare?

This is my first book, so I’m a first time author.

What next now that the book is written?

First, I’ll make sure the book is delivered to the right people and audience. Then I would go back to something that I’ve neglected – writing short stories for literary magazines. I will also try to sit down long enough to finish my second book. Maybe, I’ll also compose songs and draw.

Tell us a story of your upbringing. One that would wow us and connect us to what you do now.

I grew up as the only small child in a big family. Others were grown, and I was the only child there. Being an introvert, my family didn’t have a hard time with me. I was often left to myself so I entertained myself by reading, coloring, drawing and listening to folktales and music. I wrote stories, too. In fact, I wrote many short, silly stories as a child. You know, short stories with silly titles like “The Girl & Her Stepmother”, “The Witch & The Boy”, “The Lion & The Girl.” I remember the first time I read a standard book that intrigued me, that should be “Purple Hibiscus” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. After I was done, I was left wondering how she managed to write all that, not the content but how she managed to fill that many pages with words as I only wrote up to like three pages in almost all of my short stories. I kept wondering if I could ever manage to write something that bulky.

Who’s your mentor and favorite author?

I don’t have one but three. My favorites writers are Elechi Amadi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chinua Achebe.

What national matter would you want to contribute on?

I think “Unemployment”. I think the rising of the unemployment rate of our country, Nigeria, is something the government should really look into. Most of our youths these days are no longer interested in education, not because they don’t want it, but because after spending time getting educated, they would still end up at home, doing one menial job or the other to make a living. I think if the rate of unemployment falls, many other things like crime would fall, too. After all, not many would steal or commit a crime if they have a well paying job to sponsor their living habit. The government should find ways to create well paying jobs for the thousands of youths that graduate each year.

What trending topic would you like to jump in?

I don’t know if it’s trending now, but it trends once in every month – Feminism. I think that women are equal to men in every way. I love to think that the existence of women shouldn’t be linked only to marriage and how many children they have. I wouldn’t want to say much because that would prolong the talk, but I know fully well that women should have as much right and freedom as men do. Women should be allowed to express themselves sexually without being looked upon with scorn. Women are and will always be sexual beings in the way that men are.

Sell yourself.

I am a strict perfectionist who loves writing good stories and composing nice music. I write and post short stories on my social media account every evening for my loyal followers. I’m also a brand influencer and a very good advertiser; I just know the right words that would link a relatable story/scene to a product worthy of advertising.

Sell your book.

“People For Rent” is a novel that shows how a meek son is so much willing to put his life at risk in order to please his father, and to prove to said father’s that he is ‘masculine’ enough to be his heir.
It is a story that shows how grieving at the dèath of a loved son can turn a father defiant, blinding him to the goodness of his second son and his wives. And how he would try to make his late son out of his second son. It is a book that shows how a man can so much hate change that he won’t hesitate to slay his own son in order to stop it.
It is a tale that narrates how long a clan could last once they no longer hold the very thing that held them together. It is a narrative that shows how a stranger can unite a clan by drawing them apart.
It is a prose that recounts how a second son can grow rebellious because of the lack of a love from his father, and how he would try to rile his father by finding solace in the very thing his father detests – the new belief!
This is is story that will have your eyes glued to it until the final page. It is a story that you wouldn’t want to close until you’ve read to the end.

What do you think about Worital?

I think they’re exceptional publishers! The way they were able to capture and represent what I wanted was astounding. And the quality of crispness of their books is second to none. They just know the right way to ease a person’s heart. One of the things I enjoyed most was the way they guided me through everything, without making a fuss. Working with them was fun; I loved it. And I know that I would want to work with them again. After all, they made sure to deliver well.

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