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.
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

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

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

The Brittle Paper Literary Awards: New Date for the Announcement of Winners

The announcement of the winners of the inaugural Brittle Paper Literary Awards was scheduled for 23 September 2017. However, a change […]

The Reviews Are In! | Namwali Serpell Has High Praise for Jennifer Makumbi’s Kintu

Screen-Shot-2017-09-20-at-4.57.42-PM-e1505944728679 copy

Jennifer Makumbi’s Kintu is one of the hit novels of 2017. A historical drama, it tells the story of an 18th […]

New Website Collects Everything Binyavanga Wainaina Has Written Since the Late 1990s

A new Website has collected everything published by Binyavanga Wainaina since his writing career began in the late 1990s. The […]

Opportunity for All Writers | Submit to Vanguard Literary Services’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Anthology

To mark the 2017 World HIV/AIDS Day on December 1, Vanguard Literary Services, a bookselling company in Nigeria, has called […]

The Graywolf Press Africa Prize Launches with Igoni A. Barrett as Judge

igoni a. barrett

A new award just dropped: the Graywolf Press Africa Prize, for “a first novel manuscript by an African author primarily residing […]

Nnedi Okorafor Celebrates Everyday African Life in New Superhero Comic

okorafor comics

A little over two years ago, South African Sci-fi writer Lauren Beukes collaborated with D. C. Comics on a Wonder […]