Umari Ayim is a lawyer, writer and poet. Umari has always had a passion for writing since she was a little girl living in the bustling city of Lagos. As a member of the Literary and Debating Society of her secondary school, Umari served as the director of poetry and also wrote stage plays for the society. Her first book, a novel, o‘Twilight at Terracotta Indigo’ won the ANA/NDDC Flora Nwapa Prize for Women Writing in 2011. Her second book, a collection of poems titled ‘Inside My Head’ won the ANA Poetry Prize the following year in 2012. Her second novel and third book, Guardian of the Fall was published in 2017 by Quramo Publishing.
Following the success of her works, Umari was featured in several newspapers like the Guardian Newspaper where an article titled ‘Twilight at Terracotta Indigo: A healing process’ was published on September 10, 2011. Feature stories on Umari’s works were also published in Leadership Newspapers, Vanguard Newspapers on September 9, 2011 and June 9, 2013 respectively.
As a social commentator and gender activist, Umari has also published several articles published in both traditional and online media platforms. The following articles were published in the Guardian Newspapers:
Whipping Skirts and the Fraternity of the Boys – 9 July, 2009.
Amnesty, the Day After – 19 August 2009
A Country on Life Support – December 2009
Lessons from the Tiger Woods Saga – 22 February 2010
The Political Tragedy of Nigeria – 15 April 2010
Between the Deji of Akure and the Nigerian Culture – 17 June 2010
Charity Begin in Cote d’Ivoire – 21 January 2011
Umari is also passionate about reviving the reading culture among young people in Nigeria.
Umari Ayim is an award-winning writer with a respectable body of work both in prose and poetry, and I hope she basks in the accolades that ‘Guardian of the Fall’ will bring her way. Novels can be many different things, but what they tend to have in common is that they are almost always part of a writer’s journey of self-discovery. And at the end of the journey, the writer looks in her rearview mirror and sometimes, is surprised to see that she is not exactly the same person who started. I hope Umari Ayim continues to write, and I also hope we continue to witness her journey. – Chimeka Garricks, author of Tomorrow Died Yesterday
The text is an intriguing tale of love and betrayals among well-to-do society people situated in a Lagos milieu. Well composed and highly imaginative, it is strong on description with an impressionable and colourful sense of place, and a heightened sense of mystery and suspense. This is a well-crafted story about a search for personal identity, for a “real” self. A novel with a highly-relevant psychological outlook, Twilight at Terracotta Indigo invites the reader to join the female protagonist Marlene in regaining memory through an encounter with art. The novel’s interest in women is captured through women’s conditions in marriage, memory and search for selfhood and fulfilment. – ANA Judges
As with many romance/thriller books, this one frustrated me to no end in parts, but in the end it was an enjoyable read and I am glad I gave it a chance. Ayim has blended together intrigue, romance and even some humour to create a fun read to entertain for a few hours. – Amy McKie, Canadian Reviewer and blogger on Twlight at Terrcotta Indigo
Ayim deftly transmutes words into sonorous cadences in invoking variegated moods into life touching issues such as love, hard work, corruption, justice, humility, poverty, political power, revolution, bad governance, ethnicity, gender equality, national unity, European imperialism and African unity. Her dexterity in creating sustained rhythms and patterns of visual and auditory imagery in simple diction is phenomenal. Ayim’s ingenuity in the manipulation of diction makes a significant contribution to the development of Nigerian poetry in English. – ANA Judges
Ayim’s poems have souls. She writes with passion, feelings and subjective point of view which in my opinion are artistic airing at its best. What is more appealing in her writing is the ardour and sensation in the technique of presentation. The collection shows humanity at its most wide-ranging dimension, touching on the metaphysical, love relationship, leadership and social shenanigans, psychological and spiritual get-away e.t.c she succeeded in her attempt to present the images not as abstractions but real, with real people, real places and real circumstances. – Segun Ozique, Author OF William Qest and co-author of ‘We want more’
Umari Ayim’s original and assured poetic voice, though predominantly sombre, also resonates with hope of redemption for her land, in her poems of love and nature. A deep and truly refreshing poet is born. – Chiedu Ezeanah, author of Solar Elegies