Image description: A gradient behind the picture of the book cover for Don
Image description: A gradient behind the picture of the book cover for Don


Student Spotlight: Confidence Ezemba, Author of “Don’t You Forget”

Confidence Ezemba, a budding Nigerian author and a junior at NYU Abu Dhabi, has recently made waves with his debut novel, Don't You Forget. As a promising talent, The Gazelle sat down with Ezemba to discuss his book and his creative process.

Oct 8, 2023

Don't You Forget is a psychological thriller that delves into themes that draw from the author's personal experiences. “The theme revolves around family relationships, child upbringing, addiction, psychological and mental health issues, and manipulation,” Confidence Ezemba said. The central plot follows a character grappling with memory loss in a mysterious hospital setting, promising readers a suspenseful and engaging storyline.
“I crave suspense, and I want to give people some suspense. So I feel first of all, the fact that I am planning on going into the healthcare industry. So, the whole attraction towards a hospital setting was already there from the get-go. Memory loss can lead to various psychological problems, so there is a lot of stories that can be built from that premise, providing a rich foundation for storytelling,” he explained. As a student pursuing a degree in Biology and Psychology, Ezemba’s academic background has deeply influenced his storytelling, enabling him to approach character development from a psychological perspective, and enriching the depth of his protagonists.
“My goal is to give people a beautifully crafted story and a thrilling experience that pulls them out of this world. At the end of the day, it carries a deep meaning that’s more or less hidden and so that's why I want everyone to kind of grab out of it,” shared Ezemba.
Ezemba revealed that he has been writing since the age of 14, initially drafting stories with the simple pen and paper during classes. His early works often reflected his experiences and thoughts about school life in Nigeria, which he used as an escape and a means of self-reflection. Over the years, he explored various genres, transitioning from contemporary to mystery and medical thrillers.
To date, Ezemba has written six books, with many more stories in various stages of publishing. He emphasized the importance of continually exploring different ideas and genres while improving his craft. Ezemba explained how his personal experiences and conversations with fellow NYUAD students have informed his writing. He delved into cultural differences in parenting and perspectives on mental health, among other issues, shedding light on the societal impact of these factors. His desire to challenge stereotypes and raise awareness about mental health issues in Nigeria is a central theme in the novel. When asked about his creative writing process, Ezemba explained: "The creative process starts with me playing [vivid] movies in my mind. Then I write down what happens. I never think of the title first. I always think, what do I want to tackle? Outlining the story, setting, and characters are crucial." His unique approach involves immersing himself in his characters' personalities for weeks at a time, taking online personality tests as his characters to ensure their authenticity.
While Ezemba did not read extensively when he was young, he cited Chimamanda Adichie's "Americanah" as an early inspiration due to its relatable narrative. He also mentioned the support and mentorship he received from NYUAD professor and Nobel Prize Laureate Wole Soyinka. For thriller genres, the film "Gone Girl" sparked his interest in psychological thrillers, influencing his writing style.
Ezemba revealed that he has two upcoming books in the works, both exploring the lives of college students. One focuses on the drama and suspense of college life, while the other delves into the experiences of international students. "I plan to publish three novels before graduating in 2025,” Ezemba said.
Ezemba emphasized the importance of passion, curiosity, and perseverance for aspiring writers juggling academic commitments. “Understand that it's okay to fail sometimes. And if you want to do something now is the best time to do it. Progression is always key, even if it's slow,” he noted. “Always support others on similar journeys, as you'll need support too. Go in with the mindset that things will always work out. Right now, I'm so proud of myself because I sat down and I did work so no matter where I go in the future, I will be a published author.”
“I'm incredibly honored and grateful by the level of support I've gotten from professors, students, and the community. And it's important that I always thank those who support me. You know, like, no one owes me any support. So, always support people who are doing something [great]. It goes a very, very long way — it encourages them. [That way,] We have this level of community where everyone builds each other. So you're winning, I'm winning, they’re winning … Keep supporting creative endeavors, big or small, because it makes a difference,” Ezemba concluded.
Stefan Mitikj is Senior Communications Editor. Email him at
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