Chimamanda Adichie: Beauty Does Not Solve Problems

I am drawn to the beauty of sentences, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie confesses in this interview. Nevertheless it is important to keep a distance to your characters.

Chimamanda Adichie (b. 1977) discovered literature at a very early age. “I started reading and writing at the same time”, she says in this conversation. “If the writing is going well, it is almost transcendent. Then it is a state of being.”

Adichie explains, that she is drawn to melancholy: “Both in people, stories and music I find it very beautiful.”

At the same time, Adichie distances herself from pure emotional literature. “People tend to think, that if a book supports your own prejudices, it’s great literature. It’s not. As a writer, you have to keep a distance to your subject. And in general, the definition of beauty in the western world is very narrow.”

Adichie grew up in the southeastern part of Nigeria. After school, she studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigera. At the age of 19, Adichie left Nigeria and moved to the United States for college, where she studied communications and political science in Philadelphia. In 2003, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at the Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, she received a Master of Arts degree in African studies from Yale University. Adichie has received numerous prices for her literary work, including the novels Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half of a yellow sun (2007) as well as the collection of short stories The Thing Around Your Neck (2009). Her latest novel Americanah (2013) was selected by the New York Times as one of The 10 Best Books of 2013.

Chimama Adichie was interviewed by Synne Rifbjerg.

Camera: Klaus Elmer

Edit: Kamilla Bruus

Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014

Supported by Nordea-fonden



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