Jude Dibia penned his first fiction when he was ten years old. It was about five brothers on a quest to uncover a series of petty robberies in their home and to expose their house help as the culprit. To aid them was their pet dog, a golden retriever. Thankfully, the story never made it to print as the Enid Blyton influence was too obvious, as well as the autobiographical disposition of the story.
Growing up as a child, Jude was surrounded by books from his father’s extensive library. Apart from reading children fiction in the likes of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, Jude was introduced to classics by Russian writers and English writers at a very early age. His literary influences include Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison and a handful of African writers.
After graduating from the university with a degree in Modern European Languages (German major), Jude worked briefly with Lufthansa German Airlines before joining Virgin Atlantic Airlines as one of the pioneering staff in Nigeria. Jude Continues to work in the aviation sector.
Jude is the author of two well received novels; Walking with Shadows (2005) and Unbridled (2007). Jude’s novels have been described as daring and controversial by readers and critics in and out of Africa. Walking with Shadows is said to be the first Nigerian novel that has a gay man as its central character and that treats his experience with great insight, inviting a positive response to his situation. Unbridled, too, stirred some controversy on its publication; a story that tackled the emancipation of its female protagonist who had suffered from incest and various abuse from men. Unbridled went on to win the 2007 Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Prose (sponsored by NDDC/ANA) and was a finalist in the 2007 Nigeria Prize for Literature (sponsored by NLNG).
Jude’s short stories have appeared on various online literary sites including AfricanWriter.com and Halftribe.com. One of Jude’s short stories is included in the anthology One World: A global anthology of short stories along side stories by critically acclaimed writers such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jhumpa Lahiri.
‘Jude Dibia’s Walking With Shadows is a first: a Nigerian novel that has a gay man as its central character… Dibia handles questions of self-identification and its symbolic burdens with considerable sensitivity throughout the novel.’
– Chris Dunton, author Boxing and Other Stories.
‘[Walking with Shadows] is a bold, ambitious attack on many of the staples of homophobic politics in Africa.’
– Marc Epprecht, author Heterosexual Africa?: The History of an Idea from the Age of Exploration to the Age of AIDS.
‘[Unbridled] is thus an important extension of the Nigerian fictional tradition, and it assists the growing tributary of literary feminism to merge with and broaden the narrative mainstream… Unbridled empowers the female voice by deploying it to reveal both the trepidation and assertiveness of feminity within the domain of family, racial and economic relationships.’
The Nigerian Prize for Literature, judges’ report.
‘In [Unbridled] Dibia deftly weaves many strands of the narrative into a compact and coherent tapestry of actions from which emerges a haunting world of absurdities… Jude Dibia is a master craftsman’
– ANA, judges’ report.