Teju Cole - India
That’s Teju Cole in the barber’s chair. Is he taking a selfie while getting a hair cut?

Ha! Someone has a devoted admirer.

A fan writes about his first meeting with Teju Cole of Open City fame. You don’t have to read too closely to catch the hint of unwitting adoration despite the writer’s restrained account of the experience. Cute certainly. But reading this got me thinking about the world of African literary celebrities. Have you ever met a famous African novelist? What was the experience like?

“I looked around quickly for my author of interest and there he was: Teju Cole, author of the highly acclaimed Open City and the lesser known Every Day is for the Thief.”

“Like many other fans of Cole’s work, I followed him where I could, including Twitter. Eventually, though I cannot now recall when, he reached out to me and so began an interesting relationship in cyberspace, and it was this that made me want to make contact with Cole more than anything; to make real the abstract communication the internet had afforded us.”

“We eventually met. He walked over and greeted me warmly as I wondered how he could’ve known it was me. Immediately I felt as if a cyberspace connection had been translated into the real and physical world. I felt that I could now comfortably say that I know this person, not only their tweets or side-profiled avatar.”

“Cole was last in the line-up and he had the crowd hanging on his every word.”

“We had time for one drink as Cole graciously accepted the compliments of those who remained behind.”

“We agreed that another meeting would have to happen in future. In the end, we didn’t see each other again that week. But those brief moments that we met and spoke certainly helped to put a voice, animated body and face to a name I always admired.”

Read the full piece HERE

HERE is an account of a fan meeting Chimamanda Adichie.