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Debut novelist Ayobami Adebayo was recently interviewed by Patrick Henry Bass for The Paris Review. Before that, she was featured on Vogue.com. Before that, her novel was reviewed by New York Times royalty Michiko Kakutani. Before that, her novel was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Ayobami is officially famous thanks to Stay With Me, one of the most talked-about debut novels of 2017.

The Paris Review interview is quite lovely. In her interviews, Ayobami typically comes across as a thoughtful and brilliant person. This interview is no different. She touches on what it was like writing Stay With Me and even comments on aspects of her private life that inspired certain key moments in the novel.

Towards the end of the interview, she is asked about how she’s been handling the attention that her successful debut novel has brought her. You won’t believe her response! It’s surprisingly simple but deeply poetic.

INTERVIEWER

You’re not yet thirty and already your debut novel has become one of the most talked about books of the year. How are you handling the attention?

ADEBAYO

Stay with Me came out in March in England, and about a week after, it got long-listed for the Baileys Prize. I don’t think anybody expects that much attention for a first book, you know? The way I’ve handled it is to focus on what I’m working on right now. And that’s it. That’s just it. There’s a safety in the work for me that I really don’t find in anything else. It’s a good place for me when I’m writing. It’s not always wonderful, but it’s familiar territory. I’ve been writing for a while, but being an author is new. It’s something I’m starting to understand.

Read the full interview HERE

 

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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