Chigozie Obioma’s debut novel, The Fishermen, made news a few weeks back when it was longlisted for the 2015 Manbooker prize.
Percy Zvomuya reviewed the novel for The Sunday Times. Let’s just say that Zvomuya didn’t have a lot of praise to spare. The title of the review, “Wading in Words,” says as much. Obioma’s inclusion in the Booker dozen, he claims, is more about geography—meeting their African quota— than about literary merit.
Obinna Udenwe, a Nigerian crime fiction writer wrote a counter-review that was posted on bookslive.co.za. He refuted Zvomuya’s claims and attested to the general opinion that Obioma had indeed written a work worthy of being on the prestigious longlist.
Instead of showing Obinna some love for coming to his defense, here is what Obioma tweeted:
— Chigozie Obioma (@ChigozieObioma) August 27, 2015
I don’t know how y’all read this, but it sounds like, “Quit the noise, I like to revel in my work. Silently.”
Tactfully, Udenwe replied:
How many people are you going to tell this? People will keep tagging you without knowing that you don’t want to 🙂 https://t.co/5JITw0nEGB
— Obinna Udenwe (@udenweobinna) August 27, 2015
This brings up questions about the rules of author-reader-reviewer engagement.
Should a writer with a social media account be tagged/mentioned in reviews? Or do they deserve some post-publication privacy?
A review is one of the best compliments a reader can give a writer. After all, the reader invested the money to purchase your book, the time to write a review, and the energy to publicize it.
On the other hand, does accessibility to the writer via social media make them more vulnerable to the public’s rants?
In the former days, a reader would have to send a hard copy response to the writer’s private mail bag if there was something to be said. All of which may span weeks or months. Today, all it takes is a second at the click of a button to connect with an author
Whose side are you on Brittle Paper readers? Team Obioma or Udenwe?