Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 11.07.34 AM

Chimamanda Adichie stole our hearts with “The Danger of a Single Story.” Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun had been out a few years before the TED talk, but it was that talk that took her from being a successful novelist to a global thought leader.

Eight years later, in an interview with The Atlantic, Adichie revisits some of the questions about representation and storytelling that she explored in the TED video.

The interview is part of a series titled Bold Questions. It is designed as an animated video, for which the interviewee does the voice-over. Other high profile features in the series include Ta-Nehisi Coates, American supreme court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Caitlyn Jenner.

Adichie covers a range of issues in the short interview. She reopens the question of stereotypes, how they work, and what makes them tempting and problematic.

She also shares a little bit about her journey as a writer. Her reading life as a young girl revolved around British and American books. This experience produced a split between her real and imagined lives.

I then had this parallel imagination: in my real life I ate mangos. In my imaginary life, I ate apples. In my real life we, had two seasons: dry season and rainy season. And we always had sun. But in my imaginary life from the books I read, there was such a thing as winter and snow.

All that changed when she began reading African literature. The close connection she felt with the worlds represented in African fiction moved her to perceive the world and write differently.

My perception of reading changed when I stared reading African literature. Feeling a greater sense of connection with those books, feeling that there’s something different about those because it felt close, because it felt familiar. I stopped writing about snow.

She also draws attention to the scarcity of children’s fiction exploring African life and links it to the fact that Africans aren’t still the ones telling African stories. “I want African realities to be explored by Africans,” she concludes.

It’s a lovely interview. The animation in the video is beautifully designed and quite cool.


Tags: , , ,

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.

2 Responses to “Adichie Revisits the Single Story in New Animated Interview with The Atlantic” Subscribe

  1. Abdul Abubakar 2017/02/24 at 16:27 #

    Copy Edit!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. The Collector’s Box Vol.7 – westafricanah - 2017/03/18

    […] Next is this animation of an interview where Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sheds some more light on why it is necessary for Nigerians (and other underreprsented peoples as well) to tell our own stories and share them with ourselves and the world. Link. […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus Turns 15: The Best Moments of a Modern Classic

chimamanda ngozi adichie - by ecrivain

“It wasn’t the first novel I wrote,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie told the audience at the University of Nairobi, during her […]

Quramo Writers’ Prize 2018 Unveils Top 5 Finalists

Quramo 1

Lagos – 10/10/18: Quramo Publishing has unveiled the Top 5 finalists of the Quramo Writers’ Prize 2018, two weeks after […]

Enter for the K & L Prize for African Literature

k and l prize

Submissions have begun for the 2019 K & L Prize for African Literature. The $1,000 prize, which is in its […]

The 2018 African Literature Association (ALA) Book Awards | Call for Nominations

ala yale 2017

Submissions have begun for the 2018 African Literature Association (ALA) Book Awards. The deadline for submissions is 1 November 2018. The […]

Nominate a Writer for the Fonlon-Nichols Award for African Literature

nadine gordimer - collage

Nominate a creative writer for the Fonlon-Nichols Award by 1 November 2018. This award, established in 1992 to honor Bernard […]

Pentecostal Republic | A Powerful New Book Tackles the Role of Pentecostalism in Nigerian Politics

pentecostal republics ebenezer obadare

Nigerian Sociologist Ebenezer Obadare is asking us to take a closer look at the underlying forces of Nigeria’s political life. […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.