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Chimamanda Adichie’s lecture at the Pen World Voices Festival came and went, leaving a trail of thoughtful quotes and lovely photos.

I hope you find inspiration in these quotes and enjoy all the fun photos that comes right after.

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1. “It’s important to me that African stories be told by African people.”

2. “To choose to write is to reject silence.”

3. “Every novel has a worldview. Every novel believes something.”

4. “The ability to admit to ignorance is a wonderful thing.”

5. “It is censorship to tell half a story. It is censorship to neglect context.”

6. “The fear of causing offense, the fear of ruffling the careful layers of comfort, becomes a fetish.”

7. “I have often been told that I cannot speak on certain issues because I am young, and female, or, to use the disparaging Nigerian speak, because I am a ‘small girl’ … I have also been told that I should not speak because I am a fiction writer … But I am as much a citizen as I am a writer,”

8. “There are many reasons why I read. I read to be consoled.”

9. “I would not want to live if I were not able to have the consolation that stories give me…and for this reason I will stand and I will speak for the right of everyone, everyone, to tell his or her story.”

10. “How are we ever going to really understand one another if we’re not being told stories in a way that is full and fully done?”

11. “I’ve actually found that the older I get, the less interested I am in how the West sees Africa, and the more interested I am in how Africa sees itself.”

12. I have many problems in my life, but I don’t think that identity is one of them.”

13. “I think of myself as a writer, I think of myself as a dreamer…and I think what’s interesting … is that when you’re sitting there in front of your computer, hoping to write a good sentence, you really don’t remember that you’re black and African, you know, you just think, I want to write a damn good sentence.”

[All images by PEN American Center via Flickr.) 

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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.

8 Responses to “I Read to be Consoled | 13 Best Quotes from Adichie’s Pen Festival Lecture + Gorgeous Photos” Subscribe

  1. rebecca May 14, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    #13 Yes exactly!

  2. Basit May 14, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

    She is amazing. Full of composure and dazzling smiles. She is fully made.

  3. Amaka May 14, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    Gorgeous Adichie.
    http://www.dnbstories.com/

  4. Oyin Oludipe May 16, 2015 at 3:49 am #

    Her eyes are full of wisdom.

  5. Gail Johnson May 22, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    One of the greatest writers of this generation.

  6. Sarah May 28, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    Inspirational! Wish I could find the complete lecture online, or at least the complete text.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Reading African authors from across the continent | readafricanwriters - May 14, 2015

    […] “It’s important to me that African stories be told by African people.” -Chimamanda Adichie (here) […]

  2. 13 Quotes from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture (Plus: Photographs) | Jonathan Ball - August 19, 2015

    […] Complete article: Brittle Paper […]

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