I am Kaduna: Maryam Awaisu


Maryam Awaisu; A staunch feminist, an advocate of social justice and prevention of sickle cell anemia is the author of the novel “Burning Bright “ which was shortlisted for the NLNG Literature Prize 2016. She was a guest at The Kaduna Books and Arts Festival and Ake Festival 2017.

An Indigene of Kaduna State, Maryam focuses on the North when telling her stories. She speaks of the things that affect us such as polygamy, gender inequality ,illiteracy ,family values, generosity and other social issues. She believes that it is in telling our own stories that we can bring about the change we need in our society.

Although a graduate of business administration, Maryam confesses that she deeply hates school and went for the course not because she is passionate about it but because she just needed a degree in anything.

Maryam believes in the power of the pen and how it can effect change in the lives of Northerners and the whole world in general. In her next novel, she hopes to show us the inevitable doom that awaits us all.

As a powerful, fearless female voice coming from the North, Maryam does not only impact change through her words, she also volunteers to help teach public school students English and work tirelessly towards preventing and educating people about sickle cell anemia and its dangers to the community by supporting the Sickle Cell Patient Health Promotion Center and Relieve a Burden foundation for Orphans.

Maryam wishes that the North will take mental illnesses seriously and stop alluding such sicknesses to demonic possession and lack of faith instead of handling the problem like it deserves to be handled. Physical health is also a major concern in her state, she hopes to see disability benefits and considerations in all spheres of life as well as healthcare insurance for the people.

Maryam’s advice to the North will be to discard all it’s hypocritical notions of morality and insufficient understanding of religion which causes more harm than good. She is a firm believer than until the day the North learns to carry along its children and women, it will always remain a level below its peers.
She prefers to view herself as simply a ‘human being’ instead of focusing more on the customs and tribal affiliations that seems to only pull us apart. She believes that at the end of the day, what really matters is the kind of human you had been.

She considers herself a foodie, is completely in love with the color black, has a deep desire to change her genotype in the near future and takes pleasure in dancing.

When asked about the three words that best describes her she said “ Eccentric, Feminist and Hopeful. “

Maryam currently lives and works in Kaduna.