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Social media lets us into the lives of authors in ways that would have been quite inconceivable in the past.

Thanks to Facebook, we know who is flying to what country, having drinks with which friends, signing book deals, and celebrating birthdays.

But there is something particularly lovely about having authors share live updates of their writing process. Nnedi Okorafor, who is arguably the most hardworking writer known to man, has just finished a 110-page manuscript which, as we speak, has been sent off to her agent and editor. Guess what! She finished the manuscript thanks to jetlag during her trip to New Zealand.

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A few days earlier, Petina Gappah, author of Book of Memory, announced the completion of Rotten Row—a short story collection— in the loveliest way possible. “Goodbye Rotten Row,” she writes in Facebook update in which she also details her evolution as a writer.

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She even shared pictures of the manuscript printed out and stacked.


Stories like these are eye opening. They reveal the hard, sometimes brutal, labor of writing. But they are also inspiring, letting us appreciate the athletic endurance on which writers rely to appease our insatiable appetite for great stories.

Congrats to Okorafor and Gappah. We wish them all the best as they guide their manuscripts into published books. Of course, we can’t wait to read them.

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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.

One Response to “African Writers Hustling Hard | Petina Gappah and Nnedi Okorafor Celebrate Completed Manuscripts” Subscribe

  1. Nnamdi March 11, 2016 at 4:34 am #

    This is big inspiration for the upcoming writers (like me) whose shoulders often sag with the burden of indecision and ambivalence. It is good to know that it is not all rosy for even the ‘big guys’. But in the end, hard work rewards.

    Thanks for bringing this, Ainehi.

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