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The novelist and professor Chika Unigwe. Image from Chika Unigwe’s Facebook.

African writers who are professors seem to have a knack for effortlessly winning the hearts of their students. In 2013, Bernard Matambo’s students moved a petition to prolong his tenure. Two weeks ago, Bernardine Evaristo received an award based on her students’ ratings at Brunel University. And recently, Chika Unigwe received a special letter from one of her students at Brown University where she is the Bonderman Professor of Creative Writing.

Shy in person, with their name unattached, the student, however, showed no shyness with her observation about Unigwe’s teaching, writing and fashion since Unigwe joined the faculty in May of last year.

“I am a fond admirer of you—as a writer, teacher, and person,” the student wrote. “I also love your hairstyles and outfits—you have style in prose and apparel.”

See the full letter below.

The letter from Chika Unigwe’s student.

And we totally agree with her student!

In February of this year, Unigwe organised a festival of African writers in the university that saw Chinelo Okparanta, Namwali Serpell, Uwem Akpan, E.C. Osondu and Okey Ndibe partake in a panel discussion.

Keep rocking, Chika!

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young was born in Aba, Nigeria and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, he is the author of the short stories: “A Tenderer Blessing,” which appears in Transition Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015; “Mulumba,” which appears in The Threepenny Review; and “You Sing of a Longing,” which was shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and appears in Pride and Prejudice, an anthology by The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and in Brittle Paper where he is Submissions Editor. His interviews appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa Magazine, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the editor of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. A postgraduate student of African Studies, he currently teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. When bored, he blogs pop culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna.

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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.

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