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Ngugi  on Hardtalk

To write or not to in an African language. 40 years later, that is the question still bugging Ngugi wa Thiongo.

In this video, he speaks on the place of language and translation in contemporary African fiction while being interviewed by  Gavin Esler of Hardtalk Extra, the art-centered version of the popular BBC talk show Hardtalk.

At some point, in the discussion, Adichie’s name comes up and Ngugi says something about her “metaphysical empire.” Watch and see if you can explain to me what he means by that term.

Ngugi has been doing quite a bit of interviews and literary events of late. Nice to have him back on the limelight and sharing his wisdom with our generation.

He seems to me such an adorable old man!

See the full clip HERE.

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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.

One Response to “Video | “Adichie’s Metaphysical Empire”? Ngugi Interviewed on BBC’s Hardtalk” Subscribe

  1. Imade 2015/02/08 at 03:33 #

    I like this interview too. From what I gather, metaphysics has to do with your idea of your existence- ie space, time, etc. Like, the old Egyptians did not have the 24hour concept of time we have, neither did the Romans. By saying Adichie has built a ‘metaphysical empire’ he means that she has constructed a false perception of existence for herself where she is a co-owner of English & not the colonised it was forced upon, and where she can be as authentically English as she is authentically Igbo. Sort of like the proverbial kingdom without walls, giving a false sense of security to its inhabitants. Ngugi says this is how a lot of people in that generation see themselves and talks a lot about language in the book, ‘Decolonising the mind’.

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