Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My date with Chimmy Adichie

Hi people,

I’d planned to blog strong this month all about women, empowerment feminism. Here I am 2 days to the end of the month with only two posts to show and over 5 drafts. Life happens that's what. Good things though. All to be revealed in good time ;).

Now onto my date with Chimmy.
What?! Don’t tell me you guys don’t know we are BFFs? Well, now you know.
LOL

So I got to meet the feted Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie at the Guildhall, London where she delivered the 2012 Annual Commonwealth lecture 'To Instruct and Delight: A Case for Realist Literature' (Author of Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, This Thing Around Your Neck).
Close-up appeal
I wish I had a cool picture where we sat like Sistas discussing writing, happy feminists and Ibo culture. No siree. Instead here I am looking like a ‘Mad about you’ fan.

Here are snippets from her engaging lecture. (watch it here or read the full transcript here).

I read human stories,’ she said, ‘to be instructed and to be delighted. I also read to remind myself that I am not alone.

when we read human stories, we become alive in bodies not our own ... It seems to me that we live in a world where it has become increasingly important to try and live in bodies not our own, to embrace empathy, to constantly be reminded that we share, with everybody in every part of the world, a common and equal humanity.

I discussed her speech with a friend post-event and commented that some parts of Chimmy's lecture ‘choro ndi Britain okwu’ (challenged Britain):

“When I went to the US to go to university, I met a number of international students. From Jamaica. From India. From Kenya. And I soon realized that while we were very different, we did have something in common, something that the students from China or even Senegal did not. A certain way of being and doing, an almost intuitive way of understanding each other. And I would argue that it was not simply because our countries had been colonized by the British, not because we came from places where lawyers wore funny white wigs, but because we had, from childhood, read British books. We read Charles Dickens and Enid Blyton, we read of cucumber sandwiches and ginger beer, and our imaginations were bound in a common familiarity. There was something in this discovery that moved me, although it also left me newly astonished at just how the British had managed to meddle in so many parts of the world”.

Chimmy also spoke about the evils of colonialism and how the British empire’s indignity to man was swept under the carpet with “bloodless words like ‘amalgamation’, ‘pacification’ and ‘bloodless rule’”. It was the truth alright and I was impressed by her forthrightness. You see, it’s the kind of finger-pointing you might expect from a Soyinka, an Achebe not a budding writer (so to speak) who is being tenderly courted by the West. Moreso when you are standing on the host’s soil.

But my friend’s viewpoint gave me pause for thought - That maybe therein lies her attraction to her courtiers. Her refreshing candor and loyalty to her roots. Her pride in her Nigerianness. Her boldness in broaching subjects which other budding writers might have been silent about. Her consistency.
I agree with him.

So at the reception following the lecture, I beheld these two men chatting. One was holding a book. I noticed a word that looked like K-Leg on the book cover and I thought, did someone actually include K-Leg in their book title? LOL.
I went closer and asked if I could see the book. Indeed the title is “K-Leg Protocol” and I was actually speaking to the author and his friend. They were of course Nigerians (Or is there another country that uses K-Leg in their lingua franca?). I read the blurb. Sounds interestingly vague. Didn’t get to ask questions cause his friend kept prattling on about why I should buy the book.

Still on writers. 
At a friend’s house later in the week, the buzz was all about Chibundu Onuzo’s “The Spider King’s Daughter” which was being launched at Waterstones earlier in the afternoon. A copy of the book was in the house and I glanced through. Hmmm, let me just say that 15 yrs ago I would have begged, bribed or helped the book take a long walk in my handbag - ‘the things I used to do for a good read’. Enough said.

An Irish friend was raving about Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri, Camara Laye’s books. While I appreciated her diverse library I was happy that I could introduce her to contemporary Nigerian writers whose books are as ethnic and entertaining as ever.

Here’s to Nigerian writers. I am so proud of you!

p.s. Remind me that when next I have the opportunity to meet an author, it would be nicer to come along with a copy of their book for autographs. 

p.p.s. Chimmy’s husband is like the best kept secret, Haba!. She has refused to introduce us and Google hasn’t been helpful.

K-Leg means not straight (like legs which are K) awry, off kilter,. hence In Nigeria when you say “plans have gotten K-Leg” it means “plans have gone awry” off-kilter”).

29 comments:

  1. It's always good to meet accomplished great minds. After such encounter, you will feel like you can do the impossible! I agree this pics of you with her looks like you're not only star-struck but star-killed. haha

    Loling at K-Leg in a book title. It's all about attracting readers jare.

    - LDP

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    1. lol@ feel like I can do the impossible. You know!!! All I was thinking was see my peer o.

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  2. LMAO....This was soo funny...so did you have Chimmy over for dinner?
    As per the husband issue, Chimmy try!!!!

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    1. Babe try no be small! that must be like the best kept secret.

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  3. LoL look at you. You were really star struck. I don't blame u though. Shebi she's like the Chinua Achebe of our generation. I like what she said about the connection she shared with people from countries that were once British colonized. I've sort of experienced that.

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    1. I have had that sort of experience too, though i never would have related it to our shared colonial history if she hadn't mentioned it.

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  4. I love to hear this woman speak. she needs to make her way to my neck of the woods!

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    1. :) She is in Boston on some fellowship I think...

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  5. I'm so jealous!!! Why didn't I know she was here??? I'd give my right eye to hear her speak (well not literally but you know what I mean)

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    1. lol. Abeg don't harm thine eyes. How will you read her books if you do?

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  6. So you're besties with Chimmy huh? I knew we had something in common lol.
    Sounds like you had an amazing time. As for that Kleg protocol title, I Kent stop laughing.

    P.S: waiting patiently for the good things happening (y do I av a feeling Prof has smthn to do with it?)

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    1. My gbegborun sis!! All good things come to those who wait ;)

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  7. Replies
    1. Yes o. The lady is a well rounded African woman lol.

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  8. Ginger always gingering your swagger repping the blogfam well :) I Love Chimmy's danger of a single story, beautifully written and made too much sense.

    Its funny but true the part about connection with people from British colonized countries..:)

    As for the Kleg plans sometimes I say, your way no pure..

    Glad you me her and are you truly bff's? lol

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    1. You, me and chimmy eh? ok o. The more the merrier

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  9. Eyaa fa! I didn't know she was so close! Oh well I'm glad to hear/read that you had an awesome time!

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  10. Chimmy? Seriously Ginger. Lol, I'd have been star struck myself sha so don't berate urself. Meanwhile, I met Chibundu a few years ago o. She sings as well. How's the book??

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    1. She does? See multitalent! I have yet to get my own copy o. Its def on my list.

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  11. I saw the video and she was amazing and eloquent as usual. That is an awesome picture of you both, love the smiles :)

    Yeah, I was shocked last year when I learnt she had been married for almost 4yrs now.

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    1. Extra cheesy smile, just for you. Thanks

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  12. Lovely picture
    I must apologise and let you know that I also attended the event....I know, I know...............:(
    I should have let you know but I only decided to go after I finished early from an earlier event. If I had your phone number, I would have called you...My apologies!
    Hope to see you soon
    xxx

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    1. Thank you Adura (trying to tame swelling head). It is indeed wise to maintain some privacy. I am just amazed that she was able to do it.

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  14. Yeah, she is married. Found out a few years ago (a month after it happened). The conspiracy among 'certain' Igbos is that she feels the need to keep him quiet because she is very pro-Igbo and he is ...Efik? #justsaying #dontshootthemessenger

    Either way, nobody's business.

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    1. Haba! How does marriage to an Efik man affect her pro-Igboism? Me I think of her as pro-Igbo/Nigeria/African.
      If he had been oyibo then i would raise eyebrows...but just a bit. Love is blind abi?
      .

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  15. Ooh, and as for the rest of the post, very interesting. I wish I was there...although I tend to be the opposite. I just stand in a corner somewhere and watch people...It's sad, I know.

    (Your skin is so glowy!)

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