SheWrites 30: A Celebration of 30 Outstanding Female Screenwriters in Nollywood

The Story⚡

For too long, the invaluable contributions of writers have been sidelined in the Nigerian Film/TV industry.

Yet, it is agreed that there is no film without a script and no script without a writer. It’s time to shine a spotlight on the remarkable work of writers and elevate the profession to the recognition and respect it deserves.

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SheWrites 30, an Emerge Story Company initiative supported by Final Draft in honour of International Women’s Day in March has profiled 30 leading writers from Nigeria. 

This year’s list has the theme “Veterans and Vanguards”, celebrating legendary writers and rising voices shaping the future of screenwriting in Nollywood and beyond.

Via this partnership, Final Draft, the global leading screenwriting software has committed to giving 25 free one-year licenses to emerging writers participating in Emerge’s story conference,

“Final Draft has always supported storytellers from around the globe,” says Shelly Mellott, President of Final Draft. “We’re honoured to help amplify the powerful voices of African storytellers.”

Meet “SheWrites 30” 2024

  1. Adaeze Ibechukwu: Adaeze is one of Nollywood’s most sought-after screenwriters being able to write across genres from romance to drama and epic historical drama. Some argue that she’s arguably the fastest screenwriter in Nollywood being able to turn in a screenplay for a feature film in an impressive 24 hours. If she were a superhero, it’s safe to say she’d be The Flash. Her credits include the TV series Gifted, Broke and Proud, and the 2023 box office hit, Something Like Gold.
  2. Aishat Abiri: Aishat is a bundle of talents – she’s a screenwriter, songwriter, and doctor of Optometry among other things. Asides from being a Content Director for Big Brother Naija; she has written scripts for stage, screen and radio. Her impressive portfolio includes Story Editor on AMVenge and Itura, as well as writer on other Africa Magic shows including Tinsel, Brethren and Halita; as well as stories for social change like MTV Shuga Naija, BBC Story Story, Koyi A Take: a radio drama that serves to educate Almajiris in the North East. She has also adapted books (Tomorrow Died Yesterday, Lakiriboto Chronicles, Urichindere) for stage for the German Embassy. Other Notable achievements include her directorial debut, Does God Love Women?, screened at the 2022 Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival, and her short stories Arese and Privacy recognized in prestigious literary circles. Through her music venture, she goes under her stage name, LSO.
  3. Biodun Stephen: Some may know the name “Biodun Stephen” as a Director-Producer, but, she started in the industry as a writer, and has proven to be a versatile force in Nollywood. With a successful career spanning ten years, Biodun has become a prominent figure, boasting an extensive portfolio of award-winning projects that showcase her expertise across different genres like romantic comedies, thrillers, dramas, faith-based stories, comedy and more. In addition to her directorial talents, Biodun is recognised for her significant contributions to the industry, particularly during this era of streaming platforms. Her impressive filmography includes projects like Big Love, Sista, Joba, Picture Perfect, Breaded Life, Introducing the Kujus, and many more. Her dedication to storytelling and adeptness at bringing true-to-life narratives to the screen has solidified her status as a respected filmmaker in the Nigerian cinematic landscape. As Nollywood continues to evolve, Biodun Stephen stands out as a trailblazer, leaving an indelible mark on the industry with her captivating and diverse body of work.
  4. Bunmi Ajakaiye: Bunmi Ajakaiye is a formidable name in Nollywood. Renowned for her stellar contributions to the industry, she has firmly established herself as a reputable filmmaker, with an impressive array of hit TV shows and movies. Her prowess as a writer-director is proof of this fact. Bunmi’s filmography is marked by notable successes, with the recently released critically acclaimed Black Book standing out as a testament to her storytelling finesse. Her other projects include Sugar Rush, Glamour Girls, Eat Love Heartbreak, and The Smart Money Series among others. With a keen ability to captivate audiences across various genres, Bunmi continues to leave a mark on the industry.
  5. Chiji Vivians: Chiji is a screenwriter, filmmaker and attorney. Her writing credits include Apaye, Knocking On Heaven’s Door, Love Is In The Hair, 3 Is A Crowd, Zahra, The HousekeeperMr & Mrs Right, and TV series, Ojukwu, among several others. Although Chiji keeps a low profile in the media space, some industry insiders have referred to her as a “TV series master.” There is no need to say more about her prowess and creative influence in the industry.
  6. Dami Elebe: Dami Elebe is a multifaceted media personality, writer, and filmmaker who rose to prominence through her work in both radio and writing. She has earned titles like Nigerian Shonda Rhimes and the ‘queen of web shows’ with critically acclaimed productions like Skinny Girl in Transit, Rumour Has It, and The Mens Club earning her widespread recognition. However, her creative prowess isn’t confined to web shows. Her Young Adult drama series, Far From Home, is Netflix’s first Nigerian young adult original. She has also written for South Africa’s Netflix show, Fatal Attraction. Notably, the series continues to captivate audiences, garnering streams nearly two years after its initial release. A self-taught screenwriter, Dami Elebe’s journey is marked by a genuine passion for narrating African stories authentically. Her commitment to storytelling is evidenced by the awards she has garnered for her exceptional work. Her contributions reflect a dedication to pushing the boundaries of African storytelling, solidifying her status as an influential figure in the industry.
  7. Fatimah Binta Gimsay: Fatimah has clocked an impressive record of over 20,000 minutes writing for primetime television on shows like acclaimed shows like Battleground, Riona, Game On, Slum King, MTV Shuga Naija, and much more. She has more than five years industry experience as a  screenwriter, director and producer for film, television and web content. Fatimah is the founder of Hello July Films, a production company that has produced the award-winning short films Ijo and Omozi.
  8. Ifeanyi Barbara Chidi: Though she her career began in 2014, Ifeanyi has gone on to prove her mettle as a Writer, Director, and Producer. She has being behind some of the most talked about shows in recent times, creating streaming hit Diiche, Showmax’s Nigerian original limited series and developed stories for another Showmax hit, Crime and Justice Lagos, which picked up an award at the African Movie Viewers Choice Awards AMVCAs for the Best Television Series. With many more projects in the pipeline, there is much to look forward to from Ifeanyi.
  9. Jessica Abaga: If you are meeting Jessica for the first time, it is important to know that she has over 8 years of experience in creative development and production within the entertainment industry. She has held roles such as Story & Script Editor, Head Writer, and Content Director for both scripted and unscripted content. You may appreciate her even more for her impressive writing credits that include popular Africa Magic shows like Hush, Hustle, Forbidden, Brethren, Unbroken, and Unmarried, amongst others. Also in her portfolio is an executive position as Creative Development Coordinator for Amazon Prime Video.
  10. Jola Ayeye: Jola Ayeye, ‘Jollz,’ is a versatile screenwriter, podcaster, and media personality renowned for her significant contributions to the Nigerian entertainment scene. She is recognized for her roles as a writer and producer for popular web series and shows, including notable projects such as The Smart Money Woman, Far From Home, and Grandpa Knows Best. Jola’s involvement in these projects has not only garnered widespread acclaim but has also resonated with diverse audiences, showcasing her adept storytelling skills that have played a pivotal role in the success of various productions.
  11. Joy Isi Bewaji: Joy Isi Bewaji is a prominent figure known for her insightful commentary on critical social issues, with a particular focus on feminism, sexism, and misogyny. She started her career as a writer, she has showcased her expertise through thought-provoking articles and columns featured in various publications, covering a diverse range of topics from feminism to cultural matters. She is credited with the creation of several compelling stage plays and her impact in the film and television industry is noteworthy. She has written screenplays for feature films and TV shows such as A Weekend to Forget, Love Chances, Roli, and Zehra, among other projects. Her multifaceted contributions reflect a commitment to using her talents to address and explore complex societal issues, making her a respected voice in Nollywood.
  12. Karachi Atiya: When Karachi is not teaching her young students passionately, she channels her creativity into writing transformative stories for the screen. She has previously worked with Mo Abudu and produced seasons for her production Moments with Mo. Karachi is a prolific writer and has been behind some of the most talked-about and transformative TV shows including Sons of the Caliphate, Halita, The Rishantes, and War: Wrath & Revenge, which is a follow-up to Sons of the Caliphate. She co-directed Still Falling, a 2021 romantic drama film with Dimbo Atiya.
  13. Lois Truly: Lois Truly, a burgeoning filmmaker, brings with her a fresh perspective into the industry which has seen her throughout her four-year career. During this time, she has demonstrated versatility and has written over 10 feature films and TV series, including specs and commissioned projects. Her expertise extends across an impressive array of genres, including horror, comedy, drama, romance, web series, and shorts. Lois’s notable writing credits include projects such as Maniac, The Wingman, The Mirror, and Schooled among others. Through her work, she not only exhibits a keen understanding of storytelling nuances but also introduces an innovative approach to narrative set-up, particularly in dialogue crafting.
  14. Nicole Asinugo: Nicole is a creative powerhouse, embodying a multifaceted journey marked by courage and passion. Transitioning courageously from a career in Law, she embarked on the pursuit of her dreams as a writer. Her initial foray into the creative industry began as a lifestyle editor, content producer, and copywriter, showcasing her versatility and keen understanding of diverse storytelling mediums. In a bold move, Nicole worked as a storyteller for EXPO 2020 and recently ventured into screenwriting. She is credited with writing the screenplay for the remakes of classic blockbusters such as Living in Bondage and Rattle Snake, showcasing her ability to reimagine and breathe new life into acclaimed narratives which earned her awards. Her journey from law to the world of storytelling reflects her tenacity, and an unwavering commitment to her creative vision. As she continues to make her mark in the industry, Nicole stands as an inspiring figure, proving that it’s never too late to pursue one’s passion and redefine one’s narrative.
  15. Nkiru Njoku: It’s impossible to capture Nkiru’s 15 years of television writing experience in just one short paragraph, but we’ll do our best. Notably, she served as the head writer for the acclaimed Tinsel series, crafting more than 2000 episodes and elevating the show to iconic status across Africa. Her impact also extended to MTV’s Shuga franchise, where she contributed as an episode writer, script doctor, and consultant showrunner across multiple editions. During her time at Mnet/Africa Magic, Nkiru worked in the content department of Project Fame West Africa for 8 years, serving as a content director for 2 seasons and head of content for 6 seasons. Nkiru is a versatile director who has helmed both fiction and non-fiction projects, including the award-winning short film Orìkí, which sheds light on societal issues. Recently, she has transitioned to the UK scene and has already made waves, contributing to a Netflix Original and participating in a London-based writers’ room.
  16. Omotunde Akiode: Another legendary storyteller who has 15 years of screenwriting experience under her belt. Known particularly for her work on Tinsel, she has also written for other successful dramas, like MTV’s award-winning Shuga, and several Nigerian TV series, including the classic Dear Mother, Spider, Ajoche, and Lasigidi Cops. She’s also made significant strides in the realm of children’s animation, collaborating with global studios on acclaimed series such as Netflix’s Mama K’s Team 4 and Mini Beat Power Rockers. Omotunde, who has an M.Sc in Architecture and an MA in Comedy Writing, is constantly working to create engaging and captivating stories.
  17. Opeyemi Akintunde: Opeyemi is a faith-based screenwriter, filmmaker, actress, and author who has carved a unique niche for herself through impactful and transformational Christian-centred stories. Her recent credits include films like Stepping Into Maggie’s Shoes,  Searching for Nathan (short), My Grandma, My Mum & I, The Perfect Gift, The Party and The Kiss, and series such as 3 Is A Crowd, Him, Her & I, among others.
  18. Ozioma Ogbaji: Ozioma has cemented her status as one of Nollywood’s bankable screenwriters. She has written and produced movies and content featured on Netflix, Africa Magic, YouTube, Iroko TV, and other platforms. Some of her work includes Stuck (short film), Borderlands (documentary series), Afrocity (web series) and box office hits like Fate Of Alakada and Kambili: The Whole 30 Yards. Ozioma was also featured on the Golden Globes as one talent out of Africa about to take the continent by storm.
  19. Pearl Osibu: For nearly a decade, Pearl Osibu has worked in Film, Radio, and Television, showcasing her versatility as a Scriptwriter, Script Editor, Script Doctor, Researcher, and Content and Story Developer.she is credited with notable projects including the well-received A Sunday Affair, the engaging Lara and the Beat, the compelling Battleground, and the acclaimed Smart Money Woman. Her contributions to these projects highlight her proficiency in shaping narratives and crafting compelling stories that resonate with audiences across different mediums.
  20. Rita Onwurah: Rita’s versatility as screenwriter, producer, and filmmaker in Nollywood spans over a decade. Her impressive portfolio includes a diverse range of movie and TV writing credits, including notable works such as Taste of Love, Meet The In-Laws, Special Jollof and acclaimed TV series like Head Over Heels and Desperate Housegirls. With recent successes like At Your Service and Unshaken, Rita continues to leave an indelible mark on the Nigerian entertainment industry, solidifying her reputation as a creative force to be reckoned with.
  21. Ronke Gbede: Ronke’s career experience spans a wide range of popular TV Shows, Reality TV Shows, Drama Series (TV and Radio), Stage Plays, documentary narratives, and feature films (in cinema, on Netflix and Amazon Prime) including Nimbe and Cake. Some of her works such as The Cozener (BBC International Radio Playwright Competition), and The Barrister Of Fiditi (BEETA Arts Festival), have won awards and received widespread acclaim.
  22. Shola Dada: You’d immediately recall her name from the recently released Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre and its acclaimed predecessor, Aníkúlápó. She has worked extensively with renowned director, Kunle Afolayan, writing some of his other films such as Roti and The Bridge. She also wrote Bolanle Austen-Peters’ Man of God. She was the winner of AMVCA 2023’s Best Writer for Drama/ Comedy and she was recently invited to join the Writer’s Branch of the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is responsible for the Oscars. This invitation solidified her status as one of the best writers in Nollywood.
  23. Timendu Aghahowa: Timendu is a talented TV writer and story editor, showcasing her narrative skills through a notable portfolio of work. Her writing credits include prominent African magic shows such as Tinsel, Hush, Hustle, and Jemeji. Her contributions extend beyond traditional television as she has been an integral part of the writers’ room for MTV’s Shuga Season 6 and various web series, including Man of Her Dreams, Backseat, and Just Friends. With a diverse range of projects, Timendu has proven her ability to craft compelling and engaging stories across different formats and genres. Her involvement in both mainstream television and web series demonstrates her versatility and adaptability within the dynamic landscape of African storytelling.
  24. Toluwani Obayan: While Toluwani may be best known for her writing credits on films like Ponzi, This Lady Called Life, and Something Like Gold, she also a writer-director who in 2017 wrote, directed, and edited the short film, Heart and Might dedicated to Nigeria’s fallen heroes. She’s also a published author. She worked as the Head Writer of The Other News, Nigeria’s foremost premier news and political satire show. She is passionate about the potency of change-inspiring narratives.
  25. Tomi Adesina: Tomi is a multi-talented writer who specializes in screenwriting, poetry, teaching, and researching. She has authored several stories such as Dear Future Husband (you may have read on a blog called “Tommyslav’s Island”). In 2015, she won the Homevida in collaboration with Google Prize for her short script on cyberbullying, Feisty John. She was also the recipient of the Best Young Writer in the Nigerian Writers Award in 2015. Tomi was nominated in the Best Writer category of the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Award (AMVCA) in 2018 and won the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for her contribution to the screenplay, Hakkunde. She has also worked on other notable projects such as Kasanova and the hit faith-based feature, The Wait.
  26. Tope Akinbode & Diche Enunwa: The creative duo behind the brand name, Writers Ink Concepts. We’ll let their writing credits do the talking – Features such as When Love Happens, When Love Happens Again, Lunch Time Heroes, Hire a Man, and Inline; and popular TV series such as The Johnsons (Seasons 4, 5 and 6), My Flatmates, Life 101 (for Ebonylife TV), Jennifer’s Diaries (Seasons 1 & 2) and Zone 222, among several others. Need we say more that they are OGs of writing in Nollywood. Currently, they have broadened their creative explorations into producing-directing, with their latest feature, On The Edge, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. You can trust that they have new works in the pipeline.
  27. Tunde Aladese: ​​Tunde has 16 years of television writing under her belt. Her opportunity to head a writing team came when she was 29 with the soap opera Tinsel for South African broadcaster Mnet/Dstv, and spent the next years working on telenovelas like Hotel Majestic (mystery, romance, comedy) and Ajoche (pre-colonial, epic, fantasy), as well as getting the opportunity to write on and then head write MTV’s young adult series Shuga. Relocating to Berlin in 2015, she broadened her scope, earning a second BA in Filmmaking and delving into directing. Her global reputation shines through on projects like Netflix’s wartime drama Transatlantic. A participant in The Creative Connection and European Showrunner Programme, she’s a creative force forging new paths in storytelling, collaborating on projects across Nigerian and European production landscapes.
  28. Uchenna Ugwu: If you started seeing her writing credit on Showmax’s hit series, Wura, then you need to take a step back to see Uchenna’s extensive portfolio which includes, AMBrethren, AMRiona, AMDilemma, Nwanyi Ike, AMCovenant, The Theory of Breakfast, and recent Showmax series, Cheta’m. She’s also focused on building her production outfit, Nsibidi Media.
  29. Uduak Isong: Uduak Isong is a well sought-after filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, and director known for her remarkable contributions to Nollywood. She has made a significant impact on the industry with her work on various films, often exploring themes related to relationships, family, and societal issues. Uduak Isong has been associated with notable projects, and she has worked on both English and Nigerian language films. Some of her well-known works include movies like Lost in London, Okon Goes to School, Fine Girl and recent YouTube hit, Selina. She is recognized for her storytelling skills and her ability to address relevant social issues through her films.

30. Uyoyou Adia: Uyoyou is not just a talented director but also an impressive writer with a notable writing portfolio. Her writing credits includes Akachi, The Family, Nneka The Pretty Serpent, The Ghost and Tout Too, Superstar, Hey You! L.I.F.E. Her career journey has been fascinating and began with an internship under the guidance of Tope Oshin and Remi Ibinola. After completing the internship, she was selected to participate in Homevida, a writing workshop supported by Homevida, Google, USAID, and Pan-Atlantic University. Since then, she has written, directed, and featured in several films.

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