Award-winning Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma calls his debut novel ‘The Fishermen’ “an Igbo version of a tragedy.” Meet the author and hear about his modern day metaphor of “the paradox that is Nigeria.”
In this interview Chigozie Obioma talks about his best-selling debut novel, a mythic story about four brothers set in 1990s Nigeria. After skipping school the boys encounter a vision-seeing madman whose prophecy of violence follows them through their lives, deeply impacting their family in tragic, yet redemptive ways. “The heart of the novel,” says the author “is in fact the love between those brothers.” But the book should also be read as a metaphor for Nigeria, a civilisation that is challenged from the inside as well as the outside.
The Fishermen deals with the primal question of whether or not we are in control of our own lives. The supernatural plays an important role in the imaginary of the Nigerian Igbo tribe, as it does in The Fishermen. The worlds of the living and the dead are seamlessly connected and “everything we do is preordained, there are no coincidences,” Obioma explains. “Our actions are controlled by supernatural forces that are beyond the realm of what we can be privy to.” The novel is part Greek tragedy, part Igbo tribe tale, shaped by Obioma’s upbringing in colonial West Africa that has made his work “a tragic form of fiction that is both European and African at the same time.”
Chigozie Obioma (b. 1986) is an award-winning Nigerian writer. His first novel,The Fishermen (2015) was listed s a 2015 New York Times Sunday Book Review Notable Book and was named a best book of the year for 2015 by the UK Observer, The Economist, The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal and the book has been translated into more than 20 languages.
Chigozie Obioma was interviewed by Michael Juul Holm at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in August 2016.
Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017
Supported by Nordea-fonden
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