In Ogidi Street, Enugu, on the 22nd of April, 2024, Arinze inspired the awe and gaze of young literary afficionados with a majestic reading from his debut, God’s Children are Little Broken Things. Arinze’s debut book, God’s Children are Little Broken Things, is a collection of short stories that explores life, relationships, experiences, and desires. The event which began at around 4 pm had Arinze, in a pre-reading conversation, unwrapping his electrifying literary mind to the audience, especially that which inspired the stories in the collection.

In a conversation with the moderator, Iheoma Uzomba, Arinze spoke about his book, revealing the thoughts harboured in his mind as he wrote his book. The stories, according to him, came from a place of “forbidden” desires, a place of fulfillment in knowing and accepting his true self, and for him, this is life: being able to face, conquer, and accept the anxiety, the suffering, as well as the enjoyment.

Arinze’s response to Iheoma’s question concerning his choice of locations for these stories, reveals the author’s connection to home. For him, “there’s always a connecting thread, the Nigerian spirit, the human spirit, and I’m fascinated by these things”. And it is even propitious that the reading is held in Enugu, the home-state for most of the stories. The book comes with a quake that births alertness, that inspires reawakening. For many queer Nigerians who would speak of the book, they found in it a certain epiphany, a nirvanic tent where they run to receive affirmation. Arinze’s book is one of the eccentric masterpieces out there; not to speak of the copacetic writing style, featuring musical narration and realistic character development. In an interview with The Muse Journal, Arinze explains that his writing is a palette that depicts the tremendous beauty of life. When asked what inspired his book, he says,

Life. I just wanted to write about life. All the fun that people have, all the anxiety that people have, all the enjoyment and suffering that people go through. Just basically, life.


Arinze goes ahead to talk about how relationships, friendships, and families are structures that he finds intriguing and because he likes to observe them, he also sees the need to explore these relationships in his stories, and the differences that could arise for the people involved. He looks at his characters — Chief Emeka and Auwal, in The Dreamer’s Litany, the first story in his collection — their relationship, even with the walls of misunderstanding already set between them; the class distinction and the difference in their ethnicity, is one that he finds fascinating. In his words,

I find myself fascinated by this dynamics—you find these two people who are so different from each other and at the center of the room is desire.

He sees the tension that comes from these differences to be very fascinating and worth exploring, because even with these differences, there still is a similarity and a unique thing that both parties share and this is personal for them.In describing his book, following a question thrown by The Muse Journal and a recall of The Goodreads’ review of the book as “a new voice in fiction”, Arinze’s answer shows how well-furnished his writing comes to him and how interestingly personalized his stories are; an answer that trumps every description the book has and will ever get. In Arinze’s words,

I would say, it’s phenomenally mine.

Arinze’s stories debunk the society’s pattern that the true relationships are the ones between opposite genders. For a society that says no to same-gender relationships, his characters are found to be same sex with emotional connections, building and thriving. Even though the society’s construct has Chief Emeka and Auwal as married men, there’s still a budding rose between them that is allowed to bloom.The event was hosted by Michael Chiedoziem Chukwudera, and moderated by our own Iheoma Uzomba. It featured literary artists from and around Enugu including the immediate past assistant editor of The Muse Journal, Mhembeuter O. Jeremiah.

God’s Children Are Little Broken Things: Winner of the 2023 Dylan Thomas Prize