Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

igoni barretAdam Segal: In many of your stories, you handle technology with a real elegance. “Dream Chaser” and “Trophy” confront tech head-on: Internet cafes, incomprehensible tech jargon, a cell phone that won’t stop ringing. Elsewhere we have a Facebook friend rendezvous and a character downloading pop hits straight to his phone. And yet it never distracts…Do you concern yourself with the technological trappings of a story? Do you have any advice for a writer who wants to make a story “real” without making certain details superfluous?

Igoni Barrett: The seemingly superfluous detail has its function in storytelling, of course. Cervantes used windmills to great effect in Don Quixote, and telegrams played a prominent role in the opening of Howard’s End. Both of these technologies—windmills and telegraphy—were considered modern at the time those books were written. Today, social media and telephony are as integral to our lives as windmills were to Cervantes’s era and telegrams to E. M. Forster’s. The twenty-first century writer could do worse than replace Cervantes’ windmills with an iPhone and Lawrence’s telegrams with a Twitter DM. And so, yes, I’m preoccupied with the technological trappings of a story, but only insofar as these serve to refract the secret workings of the human heart.

— Interview with Igoni Barrett

Igoni Barrett is a Nigerian writer. His collection of short stories Love is Power or Something Like That was published last month by Graywolf Press.

 

“Africans on Writing”  is a collection of short remarks by African writers on writing and the writing life. 

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.
advert

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. AFRICANS ON WRITING: Ngugi’s Son On What He Admires About His Father’s Writing | Brittle Paper - 2013/07/19

    […] AFRICANS ON WRITING: Igoni Barret on How to Write the Tech-Conscious Story […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

On Confessional Schizo-Poetry and Finding Meaning: In Conversation with JK Anowe, Winner of the 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Poetry

jk anowe - graph

JK Anowe, a Nigerian-born poet, holds a BA in French from the University of Benin, Nigeria, where he was awarded […]

Photos | Pages & Palette Hosts Reading of Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men in Abuja

Lives of Great Men - Frankie Edozien at Pages & Palette -- photo by Victor Adewale (9)

Last December, Abuja bookstore Pages & Palette hosted a reading of Chike Frankie Edozien’s memoir Lives of Great Men. Published […]

Mauritanian Blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir Has Now Been in Jail for 5 Years

mohamed mkhaitir

In December 2013, Mauritanian blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir wrote a blogpost criticizing his country’s government for using religion to discriminate against minorities. […]

Read Chapter One of Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities

an orchestra of minorities - graph

Chigozie Obioma’s second novel An Orchestra of Minorities was published this January. As part of The Summer Library’s “selected extracts from […]

Laila Lalami’s Fourth Novel, The Other Americans, Is a Family Saga, a Murder Mystery, and a Love Story

laila lalami - alchetron - graph

Laila Lalami’s new novel is forthcoming on 26 March 2019 from Pantheon, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The 320-page […]

Thursday’s Children: 11 Contributors to Forthcoming Anthology Discuss Experimentation and the Nature of Creative Nonfiction

thursday's children - graph

Thursday’s Children is a forthcoming anthology of personal essays. Co-edited by Adams Adeosun and Bello Damilare, it comes with an […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.