Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 11.07.34 AM

Chimamanda Adichie stole our hearts with “The Danger of a Single Story.” Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun had been out a few years before the TED talk, but it was that talk that took her from being a successful novelist to a global thought leader.

Eight years later, in an interview with The Atlantic, Adichie revisits some of the questions about representation and storytelling that she explored in the TED video.

The interview is part of a series titled Bold Questions. It is designed as an animated video, for which the interviewee does the voice-over. Other high profile features in the series include Ta-Nehisi Coates, American supreme court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Caitlyn Jenner.

Adichie covers a range of issues in the short interview. She reopens the question of stereotypes, how they work, and what makes them tempting and problematic.

She also shares a little bit about her journey as a writer. Her reading life as a young girl revolved around British and American books. This experience produced a split between her real and imagined lives.

I then had this parallel imagination: in my real life I ate mangos. In my imaginary life, I ate apples. In my real life we, had two seasons: dry season and rainy season. And we always had sun. But in my imaginary life from the books I read, there was such a thing as winter and snow.

All that changed when she began reading African literature. The close connection she felt with the worlds represented in African fiction moved her to perceive the world and write differently.

My perception of reading changed when I stared reading African literature. Feeling a greater sense of connection with those books, feeling that there’s something different about those because it felt close, because it felt familiar. I stopped writing about snow.

She also draws attention to the scarcity of children’s fiction exploring African life and links it to the fact that Africans aren’t still the ones telling African stories. “I want African realities to be explored by Africans,” she concludes.

It’s a lovely interview. The animation in the video is beautifully designed and quite cool.

Enjoy!

Tags: , , ,

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.

2 Responses to “Adichie Revisits the Single Story in New Animated Interview with The Atlantic” Subscribe

  1. Abdul Abubakar 2017/02/24 at 16:27 #

    Copy Edit!!!!!!!!!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Collector’s Box Vol.7 – westafricanah - 2017/03/18

    […] Next is this animation of an interview where Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sheds some more light on why it is necessary for Nigerians (and other underreprsented peoples as well) to tell our own stories and share them with ourselves and the world. Link. […]

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.

Archives

Brunel International Poetry Prize Unveils 2017 Shortlist of Ten

AfricanPoetryPrize920

Ten poets have been named on the 2017 shortlist of Brunel University’s International African Poetry Prize. The announcement was made […]

Congrats to Adichie for Winning the “One Book, One New York” Contest

adichie one new york

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie seems to be having a great year. She emerges winner in the hotly contested inaugural “One Book, […]

Joe Okonkwo’s Jazz Moon Is a Finalist for the 2017 LAMBDA Literary Awards

When Joe Okonkwo’s debut novel, Jazz Moon, came out last year, we covered it in an interview. Now, we are excited […]

Nigerian Author Tolulope Popoola Is Featured in Lancôme Beauty Campaign

popoola lancome campaign

Some of you may know Popoola as the author of Brittle Paper’s wedding story series titled Memoirs of a Lagos […]

Namwali Serpell’s The New Yorker Essay Reveals the Satire in Zambia’s “Afronaut” Legend

Serpell-The-Afronaut-1200

Last week, The New Yorker published a heavily-researched essay by Namwali Serpell in its Culture Desk section. Titled “The Zambian […]

Being Black | By Hanna Ali | Poetry

ali black

  Part 1 My skin takes three sessions on the sunbed to achieve It’s hard to perfect the darkness surrounding […]