Alumni Spotlight: Nnamdi Ehirim IMBA 2018

Nnamdi Ehirim, Class of IMBA 2018 recently published his debut novel Prince of Monkeys, reviewed here in a New York Times article. We caught up with him in Lagos, Nigeria.
Tell us a bit about yourself 
I’m a Nigerian entrepreneur, investment professional and writer. When I grow up I want to teach at a quiet, countryside university during the day and drink my very own whiskey brand through the nights. I graduated from the International MBA at IE in December, 2018 and the best part of it was my section – J2.
What inspired you to write this book?

I had always wanted to attempt a project like this since as early as high school when I started taking my writing seriously because I was good at it. I finally decided to begin it as early as I did during my final year in undergrad. I was doing my dissertation on deep foundations listening to my playlist at the time, and I realized every artist on the playlist was about my age; Isaiah Rashad, Chance the Rapper, SZA. This was 2014 and neither of them were exactly superstars yet, but they were all young folks creating the art they wanted to create and finding an audience halfway across the world. So I figured I could do the same. What is now the prologue of the novel was a short story I had submitted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. I had also submitted it to Granta and The New Yorker, all to no avail. It was much too lengthy to get published in [the African online literary digest] Brittle Paper or [the Nigerian literary magazine] Saraba and I was 100 percent sure I didn’t want it trimmed. So I built on it and made it into a novel and then my editor eventually still had it trimmed.

What has been the most interesting lesson you’ve learned in your journey to publish the book?
Writing a book is a long term investment that could hardly go wrong. If you do it right, it could earn you paid vacations to festivals and literary events across the world for the rest of your life. And even if you do it wrong, it’s a cool thing to brag about over drinks with strangers.