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Dear Ms. Paper:

I am in love! And he’s an African writer—one of the popular ones, if I may say so. We met at a literary festival where I volunteered. The connection was instant. We were inseparable all through the festival. Since then, we’ve spent a whole lot of time together. He’s into me…at least, that’s what I want to think. But, I’m worried that even though it’s been a few months since we first met, he hasn’t yet made THE move. My New Year’s resolution is to get us into official dating mode as soon as possible…by Val Day would be ideal. I was wondering if you might have a tip or two on how to get him hooked?

Hello:

Winning the heart of an African writer will make you the luckiest girl in the world. So, let’s get you those tips you need to snag him for good.

By the way, feel free to skip to tip #6.

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1. Narcissism is a common virtue among African writers. He has to think of you as a worshipful fan. So read every single thing he’s ever written. His novels are probably tiresome and heavy-handed, so you’re likely not in for a treat. But you’ll get massive girl-friend points. 

2. It’s only a matter of time before you undergo THE infamous drill. He would want to know if you’ve read Things Fall Apart. Your answer should be yes, and nothing but yes. Lie if you have to. No African writer will forgive you for not having read Achebe’s classic. 

3. He’s an alcoholic. All writers are. So for Valentine’s Day, ditch the idea of getting him a book. Get him a Hennessy VSOP. 

4. He will write about you in his novels, whether you like it or not. This essentially means that when he kisses, he is bound to tell his entire readership, but hey, see it as collateral damage. 

5. From time to time, he will ask you to read drafts of his work. Know that he wants praise and not criticism. To an African writer, the world is divided into praise singers and haters. I don’t have to tell you which of the two is the best fit for you. 

6. If all these fails, there is always the option of buying his love. Tucked inside every male African writer is a gigolo. At some point, you will realize the bitter truth. He is broke, and perennially so. Yeah, he can’t live on the sales of his book. Didn’t you hear? Nobody is buying or reading novels anymore. So, my dear, start saving up. If he’s as popular as you claim, he’s probably going to cost a fortune. 

Hope this helps. Wishing you all the best and that wedding bells ring loudly in your corner of the world real soon.

 

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#DearMsPaper is a fictional agony-aunt series that parodies readers, critics, and writers in the African literary scene.  

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Previously on #DearMsPaper

Dear Ms. Paper: Can I Dump Him For Not Knowing Who Achebe Is?

Dear Ms. Paper: Save Me From This Boring African Novel