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The New Yorker on Chimamanda Ngozi

Chimamanda Ngozi Naiche comes to terms with global fame

As her subjects have expanded, her audience has, too, but visibility has its drawbacks.

By Larissa MacFarquhor

“We have to go further back, to 2005. I’m in Warri, in Delta State, I’m working as a doctor, and my mom and I are having a fight. She’s saying, You’re stagnating, you read medicine and you haven’t gone further, you could do better! I was happy, I was in this quiet place becoming a provincial doctor, but in Nigeria that is a lack of ambition, so my mom was angry. She showed me a photograph in a magazine of a young woman with beads in her hair, and she said, Look at this small girl, she has written a book of horticulture, about flowers—you could do something like that. She didn’t care what I did, really, she just wanted me to do more. So she told me, Write books! Don’t just sit there dishing out Tylenol. I said O.K. So I got a computer and started writing.”

Eghosa Imasuen was twenty-eight. He was living near his parents, in a small city some two hundred and fifty miles southeast of Lagos. He read a lot, mostly thrillers and science fiction, pulp paperbacks he bought from secondhand bookshops for a dollar or less. “Literature to me was recommended reading in school, which was Chinua Achebe. ‘Things Fall Apart,’ ‘Arrow of God,’ ‘Things Fall Apart,’ ‘Arrow of God,’ ‘Things Fall Apart,’ ‘Arrow of God.’ I tried to read Ben Okri once—I couldn’t get past page 10. After a while, these books were fifty years removed from me, and they are set in the way past. You didn’t feel it… Read more at The New Yorker.

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