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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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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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