Chimamanda Adichie’s lecture at the Pen World Voices Festival came and went, leaving a trail of thoughtful quotes and lovely photos.

I hope you find inspiration in these quotes and enjoy all the fun photos that comes right after.


1. “It’s important to me that African stories be told by African people.”

2. “To choose to write is to reject silence.”

3. “Every novel has a worldview. Every novel believes something.”

4. “The ability to admit to ignorance is a wonderful thing.”

5. “It is censorship to tell half a story. It is censorship to neglect context.”

6. “The fear of causing offense, the fear of ruffling the careful layers of comfort, becomes a fetish.”

7. “I have often been told that I cannot speak on certain issues because I am young, and female, or, to use the disparaging Nigerian speak, because I am a ‘small girl’ … I have also been told that I should not speak because I am a fiction writer … But I am as much a citizen as I am a writer,”

8. “There are many reasons why I read. I read to be consoled.”

9. “I would not want to live if I were not able to have the consolation that stories give me…and for this reason I will stand and I will speak for the right of everyone, everyone, to tell his or her story.”

10. “How are we ever going to really understand one another if we’re not being told stories in a way that is full and fully done?”

11. “I’ve actually found that the older I get, the less interested I am in how the West sees Africa, and the more interested I am in how Africa sees itself.”

12. I have many problems in my life, but I don’t think that identity is one of them.”

13. “I think of myself as a writer, I think of myself as a dreamer…and I think what’s interesting … is that when you’re sitting there in front of your computer, hoping to write a good sentence, you really don’t remember that you’re black and African, you know, you just think, I want to write a damn good sentence.”

[All images by PEN American Center via Flickr.) 



Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

8 Responses to “I Read to be Consoled | 13 Best Quotes from Adichie’s Pen Festival Lecture + Gorgeous Photos” Subscribe

  1. rebecca 2015/05/14 at 12:53 pm #

    #13 Yes exactly!

  2. Basit 2015/05/14 at 4:29 pm #

    She is amazing. Full of composure and dazzling smiles. She is fully made.

  3. Amaka 2015/05/14 at 5:05 pm #

    Gorgeous Adichie.

  4. Oyin Oludipe 2015/05/16 at 3:49 am #

    Her eyes are full of wisdom.

  5. Gail Johnson 2015/05/22 at 9:47 am #

    One of the greatest writers of this generation.

  6. Sarah 2015/05/28 at 3:54 pm #

    Inspirational! Wish I could find the complete lecture online, or at least the complete text.


  1. Reading African authors from across the continent | readafricanwriters - 2015/05/14

    […] “It’s important to me that African stories be told by African people.” -Chimamanda Adichie (here) […]

  2. 13 Quotes from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture (Plus: Photographs) | Jonathan Ball - 2015/08/19

    […] Complete article: Brittle Paper […]

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Nnedi Okorafor’s Chicken in the Kitchen Wins Children’s Africana Book Award


On October 8th, Nnedi Okorafor attended a ceremony at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC  where […]

Adichie Has Some Thoughts About Michelle Obama as a Figure of Black Femininity


As Michelle Obama concludes her 8-year run as first lady, The New York Times Style Magazine assembles a group of […]

Welcome to London | by Lucky Edobor | An African Story


05:40 am. The immigration man’s backside is too flat, even for a skinny white man. It is hard to not […]

Opportunity for African Writers | Entries are Open for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize


Entries are officially opened for the Brunel University International African Poetry Prize. You can now enter your poems for a […]

Chibundu Onuzo’s Brand New Ultra-Chic Author Photos


A week ago, Chibundu Onuzo shared this photograph above on Instagram with the caption: “There comes a time in every […]

Imperialism-in-Artistry: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Win Is Proof Adichie Is Right about Beyonce | by Otosirieze Obi-Young


IN A RECENT INTERVIEW with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, ahead of the Dutch translation of her We Should All […]