The Momus Questionnaire — Melatu Uche Okorie

Melatu Uche Okorie is a writer and scholar. Born in Nigeria, she moved to Ireland in 2006. It was during her eight and a half years living in the direct provision system that she began to write. She has an M. Phil. in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin, and has had works published in numerous anthologies. In 2009, she won the Metro Éireann Writing Award for her story ‘Gathering Thoughts’. Melatu has a strong interest in the rights of asylum seekers and migrant education in Ireland and is currently studying for a PhD in Education at Trinity College, Dublin. This Hostel Life is her first book.

The Momus Questionnaire was created by musician Nick Currie, and is designed to identify the aspects of the subject’s personality which give them a positive self-image, or ‘subcultural capital’.


Have you rebelled against someone else’s dreary expectations of your life, and become something more unexpected?

I have surely rebelled against others’ expectations of me. Not all were dreary, though. And yes, I would say that I have become something unexpected – a writer! And on the way to becoming a scholar! I thought I would be a dancer or something very free spirited, but I ended up on a more conservative path.

What in your life can you point to and say, like Frankie, ‘I Did It My Way’?

Oh, everything about my adult life. Every single step and stage of it has been my way, not without a few bruises and tears.

What creative achievements are you most proud of?

I’m always proud of all my work.

If there was one event in your life which really shaped you, made you the person you are today, what would it be?

Becoming a parent — without a doubt.

If you had to make a song or rap boasting about your irresistible charm and charisma, how would you describe yourself?

This is a funny one. OK, let me see… I don’t think I will use the words irresistible, charm and charisma in reference to myself in a song. However, I do think I am a calm and practical person, so my rap would probably go like this:
#Cool as ice
#Never break a sweat

Have you ever made material sacrifices because of your integrity?

I have. A lot.

Describe a public personality who exemplifies everything you’d like to be yourself, then another public personality who incarnates everything you’d least like to be.

This is a tough one, purely because no one is necessarily perfect. We all have weaknesses and strengths. I do like kind people though, and intelligence. There’s tenacity and wit, as well. There are many public personalities who exhibit these qualities and it’s a little unfair to name just one. To answer your question though, I like Madonna – not because she exemplifies everything I’d like to be but because I see her as a strong woman. And more recently, Meghan Markle. Again, I wouldn’t want to be her. In this case, my reason for picking her is that she’s had lots of bad press within the past year or so, however she’s kept a calm and unruffled air. I like that – not letting other people’s bad behaviour affect you.

As for a public personality who incarnates everything I’d least like to be? No one. For the same reason that I gave above, no one is completely one thing!

If you were an Egyptian pharoah and had to be buried with a few key objects to take to the next world, what would they be?

Woah!!! Let-me-see-again —It would have to be my bible and pictures of my loved ones.

Do you have a favourite joke, quotation or proverb?

I am 43 years old so I’ve kind of acquired a good number of favourites in everything. For this, I’ll go with a quote and it will have to be Kandi Buruss of The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s tag line:
“I’m not about the drama, don’t start none, won’t be none!”

What’s your favourite portrait (it can be a song, a painting, a film, anything)?

Definitely not going with a film, portrait or painting. It’s difficult to pick a favourite out of those. Favourite T.V show? The Wire. Favourite Song? Warren G & Nate Dogg, Regulate; No Doubt, Don’t Speak; UB 40, Kingston Town; Dusty Springfield, Son of a Preacher Man; Stereophonics, Handbags and Gladrags; Toploaders, Dancing in the Moonlight.
Was the question favourite song or songs???….