Internationally-acclaimed and award-winning novelist Nino Ricci credits his two years volunteering in Nigeria in helping him hone his vision as a writer.
“My stint with CUSO has proved invaluable, for though I have only occasionally written about it directly, it has deeply informed my vision as a writer, in having broadened my experience and deepened my understanding of the human condition in ways that might otherwise have taken an entire lifetime.”
Volunteering as an English teacher from 1981 to 1983, Nino was inspired by his students’ resiliency and the country’s beauty. “Every day was a special experience during my time in Nigeria,” he says. “My placement changed me in fundamental ways: on one hand, opening my eyes to the vast differences of custom, outlook and opportunity that can separate different cultures, and on the other, to the common humanity that joins them, and common hopes and fears.”
Working on his next novel, now living in Toronto, Nino said his experience had a lasting effect back in Canada and on his career. Nino’s work has been recognized with many awards including the Governor General’s Award; he is also a recipient of the Order of Canada.