Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor was featured as a speaker at the virtual Igbo symposium.
Okorafor was one of a handful of stellar line-up of artists, writers and thinkers of Igbo origins “discussing significant moments of change for Igbo people, brought about by disruptive forces (both positive and negative).”
Her session was a virtual conversation with Yvonne Mbanefo on the theme of “Africanfuturism: Disrupting Science Fiction.”
The author shared her thoughts on the concept of Africanfuturism, noting its difference from Afrofuturism. She talked her on-going work on the screen adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed and the experience of meeting Viola Davis whose production company is behind the project. She also talked about her experience with paralysis and subsequent recovery, her struggle with hair and identity, and lots more.
Here are some of the highlights from the interview:
[Africanfuturism] is similar to Afrofuturism in a way that blacks on the continent and in the black diaspora are connected by blood, spirit, history and future. The difference is that Africanfuturism is specifically and more directly rooted in the culture, history, methodology and point of view as it then branches into the black diaspora. It does not privilege or center the West.
On Africa and imagining the future:
“It is within science fiction that so much of our innovation is born. Innovation is born within the creators of it. And the creators of it always come from their own perspective (reality, wants, needs, hopes)… Africanfutursim is a subset of science fiction and it is imagining and speculating, and it is important for people of African descent to speculate about their own futures. Because when they speculate about their own futures, they are speculating through their own wants and needs and hopes. If you don’t dream about your own future, someone else is going to write about it for you. That’s where Africanfuturism comes in.
Advice to aspiring writers:
“If you want to go out there and make lots of money and all of that, cool, No problem. I just have no advise for you. But for those who really want to do something, like write something incredible, don’t worry about people. There’s always someone who wants to hear your story. The route to getting in is never the same. There’s no one way to do it. And there are back doors, side doors, windows, roofs, attics, all different ways of getting in. And I think that if you follow your passion and create what you feel is amazing, that way will open up for you.”
See the full interview via the Igbo Conference channel.