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Cletus Nelson Nwadike Sweden    PWF 2018


“When I die I want to be buried in two graves—in my friends’ hearts and in a short black poem.”

 Poet-photographer—Cletus Nelson Nwadike was born in Ejule, Nigeria in 1966. He left Nigeria in 1990 for Sweden, where he resides with his girlfriend and two children.

 “I dreamed I came home—but my mother didn’t recognize me. I tried to explain to her—but she just went away and didn’t leave any food for me. I went and sat by myself—no one understood me anymore. I began to cry and everyone in the village came and spoke in a language I no longer understood.”

 Fantastic on stage—Nelson Nwadike speaks four languages—Ibo, Hausa, English and Swedish. Writing in Swedish, his main themes are love, death and Africa.

“The dead came to me and asked me to read their poems and translate them. Death is alone—that’s why it behaves the way it does.”

Recipient of prizes for photography and poetry, Cletus Nelson Nwadike has published five collections of poems: A Short Black Poem, With Words I Can No Longer Pray, One Side of the Rain Falling, I Do Not Want to Mourn You, Thoughts from the Mouths of Lions, and a children’s book The Elephant in the Mirror.

“My poem observes me— as only an enemy can.”


Cletus Nelson Nwadike lives in Aneby, Sweden.