Adichie - Style - Bellanaija 2

Chimamanda Adichie is officially Africa’s literary queen of controversy. Remember her well-publicized beef against African women who relaxe their hair or carry straight weaves? This time, she has become the talk of African twitterville after dissing the Caine Prize and dismissing the shortlisted stories in an interview with American graduate student and blogger Aaron Bady. There were also comments about how her reference to Nigerian writer, Elnathan John, as “one of my boys” was condescending and disrespectful. Here is the offending quote:

Elnathan was one of my boys in my workshop. But what’s all this over-privileging of the Caine Prize, anyway? I don’t want to talk about the Caine Prize, really. I suppose it’s a good thing, but for me it’s not the arbiter of the best fiction in Africa. It’s never been. I know that Chinelo is on the short list, too. But I haven’t even read the stories—I’m just not very interested. I don’t go to the Caine Prize to look for the best in African fiction…I go to my mailbox, where my workshop people send me their stories. I could give you a list of ten—mostly in Nigeria—writers who I think are very good. They’re not on the Caine Prize short list….Who’s the other Nigerian on the short list? There’s Chinelo and Elnathan but I don’t know who the others are.

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—Read full interview HERE.

Of all the reactions to Adichie’s statement, Abubakar Ibrahim’s tweets seem the most interesting to me. It’s harsh but also clearly comes from a place of honesty. The fact that he is one of the shortlistees of the 2013 Caine Prize meant that Adichie’s statement came across as a personal attack.

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What do you think after reading the interview and Ibrahim’s tweets? Is the anger towards Adichie justified? Or has she been completely misunderstood?