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."


In this video clip of an interview in Denmark,  Taiye Selasi shares one small bit of personal detail about the labor that went into producing her debut novel. 

Selasi began writing Ghana Must Go in Copenhagen. The first 100 pages came uninterrupted in what she calls, “one contiguous flow.”

The next 200 was a different matter. First there was six months of writer’s block between page 100 and page 101.

Desperate situation calls for desperate measures.

“I moved to Rome,” she says, “I broke up with my lover. I changed everything that I could think to change and finally I was able to write again.”

#NOTE to my fellow writers, next time you feel lost and the words just aren’t coming, you must ditch boy to regain the zen-like flow of your creative power. It’s called the casualties of creativity.

On a more serious note, Selasi’s experience points to the strange and costly beauty of the labor of writing.

There’s more in the interview—why she hates the term “multinational” as a form of identity, why she hates being questioned about returning to Ghana, why Afropolitanism emerges from a place of crisis, and much more.

The interview is engaging. The literary diva is chipper and elegant in the 14-minute reflection on writing and the politics of identity.


Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014,

Feature image by Nadav Kander {HERE}

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.

4 Responses to “New Video: Taiye Selasi On Writers Block, Boys (sort of), And Moving Back To Ghana” Subscribe

  1. stefan 2014/02/17 at 01:19 #

    always ditch the boy! words to live by.

  2. Ainehi Edoro 2014/02/17 at 09:50 #

    Ha ha ha.

  3. M G 2015/05/11 at 04:50 #

    The comment about the Italians marrying Ethiopians and not being able to get out stuck in my mind. What is she talking about!


  1. Video: Taiye Selasi on How the Media Fixates on Politics When Reading African Novels | Penguin SA - 2014/03/09

    […] Selasi began writing Ghana Must Go in Copenhagen. The first 100 pages came uninterrupted in what she calls, “one contiguous flow.” Complete article: Brittle Paper […]

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."


Teju Cole Joins Harvard’s Department of English as Gore Vidal Professor of Creative Writing

teju cole sydney morning herald

Teju Cole has joined Harvard University’s Department of English as the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing. […]

Always Another Country | Sisonke Msimang’s North America Book Tour

sisonke msimang

Last October, Sisonke Msimang’s debut memoir Always Another Country was published by Jonathan Ball Publishers in South Africa. The account of […]

Chimamanda Adichie Adds Her Voice to Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis

anglophone crisis - image from actu cameroun

Chimamanda Adichie has added her voice to Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis, following efforts by Cameroonian novelists Imbolo Mbue and Patrice Nganang. […]

Deji Olukotun’s Novels, Nigerians In Space and After The Flare, Optioned by Major Film Company

Image from ASU Events.

Deji Olukotun’s novels Nigerians in Space and After the Flare have been optioned by major film company. The crime novelist shared this […]

Petina Gappah Is Working on a Rhodesia Trilogy Comprising a Comedy, a Tragedy, and an Epic

petina gappah

Petina Gappah is working on a series, what she calls the Rhodesia Trilogy. The Zimbabwean writer and novelist, whose short […]

Nnedi Okorafor Announces New Project Due in December, Set in the Universe of Binti and Lagoon

Nnedi okorafor - la guardia

Fresh from her trending appearance at the Emmys with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martins, Nnedi Okorafor has announced […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.