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Teju 3

Teju Cole has been actively lending his voice to the #bringbackourgirls campaign/debates all this week. But a few days ago, he does something different. He writes a meditation on what life might be like for the girls while in captivity.

The deeply evocative piece is titled “Captivity” and was published in The New Yorker. In two days, the post has been shared 2000 times on Facebook. Everyone is clearly reading it. So read it too. HERE. 

adichie Ian Willms for National Post

Even before Teju Cole’s piece, Adichie took to the Nigerian blog, Scoopng, and called on President Jonathan to snap out of his inertia and do something about the abducted girls. She writes:

“I want President Jonathan to be consumed, utterly consumed, by the state of insecurity in Nigeria. I want him to make security a priority, and make it seem like a priority. I want a president consumed by the urgency of now, who rejects the false idea of keeping up appearances while the country is mired in terror and uncertainty.”

Another viral piece, with 4000 Facebook shares in four days. Read it HERE.  Also read our poetic spin on the same essay. HERE.


Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go made the PEN Open Book Award longlist. The prize is awarded to the best book written by a writer of color. If Selasi wins, she’ll be 5,000 dollars richer. Wishing her all the best. {source}

In other news, she joined the chorus of aggrieved voices criticizing the current state of things in Nigeria, especially with the abduction of the Borno girls. She posted on Facebook: “When do we get to call Nigeria a failed state?”  

While it seemed like an obvious question to ask, not everyone thought well of it. Here are two commenters: 

Meji Dele:

With all due respect Nigeria’s leaders may be bad – but the state itself is not a failed state. We should remember that an island somewhere adjacent to the Atlantic had a situation not dissimilar to the atlantic in the 1970s – despite the troubles in Ireland, and the sometimes indifferent british government, nobody called Great Britain a failed state.

Wato Camille:

Nigeria categorized as a Failed State…depends on who is defining it. Flawed Yes! No law and order= SOMALIA. Political exploitation=BOLIVIA. Lack of property rights= NORTH KOREA. Forced Labor= UZBEKISTAN. A weak central government= COLOMBIA. Institutional racism/unjust justice system=AMERICA. Apathetic Government= Nigeria. #BringOurGirlsBack


We love it when African writers do things together. Godfrey Mwampembwa, a Kenyan cartoonist, Tope Folarin, the winner of the Caine Prize last year, Mukoma wa Ngugi, author of Nairobi Heat, Deji Olukotun, author of Nigerians in Space and Chinelo Okparanta, winner of the O’Henry short story prize—hung out at NYU earlier in the week as participants in the PEN World Voices Festival 2014. See more photos HERE. 


E. C. Osundu, who won the Caine Prize a few years ago, shared a photo of the manuscript of his forthcoming work. Hmmmm….cool title.

chinelo-okparantaCongrats to Chinelo Okparanta for winning the O’Henry short story prize. Look out for the anthology of all 14 winning storiesin September.

The International Writer’s Program alumni first came into our view when she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Okparanta is the only African that graced the list of winners. We applaud her! {Source}

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.

6 Responses to “What African Writers Did This Week” Subscribe

  1. Oyin Oludipe May 10, 2014 at 4:12 am #

    Teju’s a soulmate on this one. Just finishing up a short play too for that horrid scenery. I keep praying, in one silent corner of my mind, that this doesn’t later evolve as another ‘Nigerian thing of no serious importance’. However, let our girls be brought back

    Happy for Chinelo. I first encountered her on the Guardian, where I had read an excerpt of Happiness, Like Water . There was a sharp wit that seemed promising

  2. Ainehi Edoro May 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Hi Oyin. Curious about that play of yours.

  3. Oyin Oludipe May 11, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Really? Here’s a part of it

    “I can ask to be unseen
    At the hour of a school bell
    Tethered by the riling breed

    But when Bonko’s race
    Swirls the chime
    In turmoil round my head

    I clap the grime away
    And let the carping pass.” Fifth Girl

    I finished Bonko’s Harvest just yesternight. A scathing caricature for the likes of Bonko Amaru (Boko Haram)

  4. Ainehi Edoro May 12, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    I like. What do you plan to do with it? Can I see more?

  5. Oyin Oludipe May 12, 2014 at 5:01 am #

    Thanks. I’m trying to experiment with guerilla theatre here in Nigeria. Organizing a university troupe of mine to perform it in front of the gates. Currently, still beseeching a friend to publish on his blog.

    But yes, you can see more. You may d.m me your mail address @Sir_muell so I can send you a pdf.


  1. Boko Haram in NIgeria; Conclusion of Naming Ceremony | Catherine Onyemelukwe - May 9, 2014

    […] want to give you a link to a blog called Brittle Paper that I recently started following. The blogger’s current post starts with a piece about the […]

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