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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 is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He is the curator 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 cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, he 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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