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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}

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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.

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

  1. stefan February 17, 2014 at 1:19 am #

    always ditch the boy! words to live by.

  2. Ainehi Edoro February 17, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Ha ha ha.

  3. M G May 11, 2015 at 4:50 am #

    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 - March 9, 2014

    […] 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 […]

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