Photos: The Release of the Nigerian Edition of Americanah

Chimamanda reading from Americanah

Chimamanda reading from Americanah

The audience

The audience

Chimamanda in conversation with Tolu Ogunlesi

Chimamanda in conversation with Tolu Ogunlesi

The audience

The audience

Chimamanda

Chimamanda

In Conversation

In Conversation

Question from a member of the audience

Question from a member of the audience

Question from a member of the audience

Question from a member of the audience

Adebola Rayo, Chinaku Onyemelukwe, Okey Adichie

Adebola Rayo, Chinaku Onyemelukwe, Okey Adichie

Question from a member of the audience

Question from a member of the audience

Chimamanda signing books

Chimamanda signing books

Chimamanda and her parents

Chimamanda and her parents

Chimamanda with Kachifo Ltd. staff

Chimamanda with Kachifo Ltd. staff

Many thanks to @obidaraphx for the photos

AMERICANAH Lagos Book Tour

AMERICANAH by Chimamanda Adichie is now available in bookstores across Nigeria. The author will be embark on a Lagos Book Tour from the 27th of April.

AMERICANAH_Tour Schedule

Meet Chimamanda on these dates at the following locations:

April 27 at Terra Kulture by 6pm.

May 1 at Patabah Books, Shop B18 Adeniran Ogunsanya Mall, Surulere, by 1pm

May 4 at Glendora, Ikeja City Mall, by 1pm

Or catch her on the radio:

7pm, Friday 3rd May, 92.3 Inspiration FM with Wana Udobang.

9.30am, Saturday 4th May, 98.1 Smooth FM on the Breakfast show

Excerpt: Americanah

americanahFinally, Aisha finished with her customer and asked what colour Ifemelu wanted for her hair attachments.
“Colour four.”
“Not good colour,” Aisha said promptly.
“That’s what I use.”
“It look dirty. You don’t want colour one?”
“Colour one is too black, it looks fake,” Ifemelu said, loosening her headwrap. “Sometimes I use colour two, but colour four is closest to my natural colour.”
Aisha shrugged, a haughty shrug, as though it was not her problem if her customer did not have good taste. She reached into a cupboard, brought out two packets of attachments, checked to make sure they
were both the same colour.
She touched Ifemelu’s hair. “Why you don’t have relaxer?”
“I like my hair the way God made it.”
“But how you comb it? Hard to comb,” Aisha said.
Ifemelu had brought her own comb. She gently combed her hair, dense, soft and tightly coiled, until it framed her head like a halo. “It’s not hard to comb if you moisturize it properly,” she said, slipping into the coaxing tone of the proselytizer that she used whenever she was trying to convince other black women about the merits of wearing their hair natural. Aisha snorted; she clearly could not understand why anybody would choose to suffer through combing natural hair, instead of simply relaxing it. She sectioned out Ifemelu’s hair, plucked a little attachment from the pile on the table and began deftly to twist.
“It’s too tight,” Ifemelu said. “Don’t make it tight.” Because Aisha kept twisting to the end, Ifemelu thought that perhaps she had not understood, and so Ifemelu touched the offending braid and said,
“Tight, tight.”
Aisha pushed her hand away. “No. No. Leave it. It good.”
“It’s tight!” Ifemelu said. “Please loosen it.”
Mariama was watching them. A flow of French came from her. Aisha loosened the braid.
“Sorry,” Mariama said. “She doesn’t understand very well.”
But Ifemelu could see, from Aisha’s face, that she understood very well. Aisha was simply a true market woman, immune to the cosmetic niceties of American customer service. Ifemelu imagined her working in a market in Dakar, like the braiders in Lagos who would blow their noses and wipe their hands on their wrappers, roughly jerk their customers’ heads to position them better, complain about how full or how hard or how short the hair was, shout out to passing women, while all the time conversing too loudly and braiding too tightly.

AMERICANAH coming soon to bookstores near you!

To pre-order email orders@kachifo.com, call +2348077364217 or tweet at us: @farafinabooks
Price: Hardback N4500, Paperback N2500.

All About Chimamanda…

‘Adichie came almost fully made.’ Chinua Achebe

chimamanda-bio

Every great writer generates interest about their origins. Was Chimamanda’s childhood special? Is she an only child? Is she married? Could she always write so well? Our curiosity was certainly whetted…

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on 15 September 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents, Grace Ifeoma and James Nwoye Adichie. While the family’s ancestral hometown is Abba in Anambra State, Chimamanda grew up in Nsukka, in the house formerly occupied by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. Chimamanda’s father, who is now retired, worked at the University of Nigeria, located in Nsukka. He was Nigeria’s first professor of statistics, and later became Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University. Her mother was the first female registrar at the same institution.

Chimamanda completed her secondary education at the University’s school, receiving several academic prizes. She went on to study medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. During this period, she edited The Compass, a magazine run by the University’s Catholic medical students.

At the age of nineteen, Chimamanda left for the United States. She gained a scholarship to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years, and she went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. While in Connecticut, she stayed with her sister Ijeoma, who runs a medical practice close to the university.

Chimamanda graduated summa cum laude from Eastern in 2001, and then completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

It is during her senior year at Eastern that she started working on her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, which was released in October 2003. The book has received wide critical acclaim: it was shortlisted for the Orange Fiction Prize (2004) and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (2005).

Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (also the title of one of her short stories), is set before and during the Biafran War. It was published in August 2006 in the United Kingdom and in September 2006 in the United States. Like Purple Hibiscus, it has also been released in Nigeria.

Read the rest of Chimamanda’s biography here: http://www.l3.ulg.ac.be/adichie/cnabio.html

AMERICANAH coming soon to bookstores near you!

To pre-order email orders@kachifo.com, call +2348077364217 or tweet at us: @farafinabooks
Price: Hardback N4500, Paperback N2500.

 

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story

“…But because of writers like Chinua Achebe and Camara Laye, I went through a mental shift in my perception of literature. I realized that people like me, girls with skin the color of chocolate, whose kinky hair could not form ponytails, could also exist in literature. I started to write about things I recognized.”

‘Fine Boys’ goes to Bayelsa

The 2nd Bayelsa Book and Craft Fair is scheduled to hold on April 18 and 19, 2013. Themed ‘Africa as One,’ the fair will host artists from several disciplines.

Image

Catch Farafina author, Eghosa Imasuen, at the Fair where he will be on two panels talking about writing, and his second book, Fine Boys.

Fine Boys tells the story of Ewaen and his friends as they navigate the treacherous waters of the Nigerian university system, even as the country spirals into political unrest. A honest, heartfelt book, Fine Boys is a must-read.

Other Nigerian authors who will be at the fair include Toni Kan, Professors Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Chukwuemeka Ike, Nze Ifedigbo Sylva, Ayodele Arigbabu, Ayodele Morocco-Clarke, and Ayodele Olofintuade.

The Fair will also host Nollywood director, Charles Novia, who will launch his memoir, Nollywood Till November and speak about the joy of documentation.

Bayelsa Book & Craft Fair is the brainchild of the Africa Film Academy and Blues & Hills Consultancy.

Copies of Fine Boys will be on sale at the Fair.

Excerpt: Half Of A Yellow Sun

half of a yellow sun

‘Your mother made a scene.’

‘You’re angry,’ Odenigbo looked puzzled. He sat down in the armchair, and for the first time she noticed how much space there was between the furniture, how sparse her flat was, how unlived in. Her things were in his house; her favourite books were in the shelves in his study. ‘Nkem, I didn’t know you’d take this so seriously. You can see that my mother doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s just a village woman. She’s trying to make her way in a new world with skills that are better suited for the old one.’ Odenigbo got up and moved closer to take her in his arms, but Olanna turned and walked into the kitchen.

‘You never talk about your mother,’ she said. ‘You’ve never asked me to come to Abba with you to visit her.’

‘Oh stop it, nkem. It’s not as if I go that often to see her, and I did ask you the last time but you were going to Lagos.’

She walked over to the stove and ran a sponge on the warm surface, over and over, her back to Odenigbo. She felt as if she had somehow failed him and herself by allowing his mother’s behaviour to upset her. She should be above it; she should shrug it off as the ranting of a village woman; she should not keep thinking of all the retorts she could have, instead of just standing mutely in that kitchen. But she was upset, and made even more so by Odenigbo’s expression, as if he could not believe she was not quite as high-minded as he had thought. He was making her feel small and absurdly petulant and, worse yet, she suspected he was right. She always suspected he was right. For a brief irrational moment, she wished she could walk away from him. Then she wished, more rationally, that she could love him without needing him. Need gave him power without his trying; need was the choicelessness she often felt around him.

 

 *Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nsukka, Nigeria. Her work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared in various publications. She is the winner of numerous international prizes, including a 2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Half of a Yellow Sun and the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Purple Hibiscus.
Farafina is proud to announce the Nigerian edition of Chimamanda’s newest novel AMERICANAH.
AMERICANAH can be pre-ordered by emailing orders@kachifo.com, calling +2348077364217 or tweeting at us: @farafinabooks
Price: Hardback N4500, Paperback N2500.
Upon release on April 21, 2013, AMERICANAH will be available in all major bookstores across the country.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘My new novel is about love, race… and hair’

To kick off our 2 Weeks of Chimamanda, which will culminate in the release of the Nigerian edition of Americanah, find below an excerpt from a recent interview.

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of the bestselling Half of a Yellow Sun, speaks to Kate Kellaway about her new novel, Americanah, her Nigerian childhood and why she’s a hair ‘fundamentalist’

 

ImageIn your third novel, Americanah, one of the characters warns about the inanity of asking what a book is about – “as if it were only about one thing”. But… I have to ask: what is Americanah about?

It is about love. I wanted to write an unapologetically old-fashioned love story. But it is also about race and how we reinvent ourselves. It is about how, when we leave home, we become another version of ourselves. And it is also about hair…

We’ll come back to the subject of hair, but can you say where home is for you?

I live half the year in Nigeria, the other half in the US. But home is Nigeria – it always will be. I consider myself a Nigerian who is comfortable in the world. I look at it through Nigerian eyes.

How important is it to belong?

Belonging matters. I left home, at 19, to study in Philadelphia. I didn’t think about identity at all until I went to the US. There is a wonderful quotation from Peter Ackroyd about the relationship between longing and belonging. Much of my work is about this. I am given to unnecessary nostalgia, the longing for what isn’t there.

Do you miss the US when you are in Nigeria?

Yes, the very fast internet service. And regular electricity, not having to think about generators. I like the US and feel gratitude towards it.

You write brilliantly about love. What do you think makes a love last?

I wish I knew… if I did, I would market it. Lasting love has to be built on mutual regard and respect. It is about seeing the other person. I am very interested in relationships and, when I watch couples, sometimes I can sense a blindness has set in. They have stopped seeing each other. It is not easy to see another person.

Have you experienced love at first sight?

No, but I would like to.

You write with satirical precision about the way black people are patronised in the US and the UK – often in a well-meaning way. How widespread is this condescension? One of your characters – Kimberley – describes all black people as “beautiful”.

It is very widespread. There is a deep discomfort about the subject. People struggle to be honest and ordinary. I wish race didn’t matter. I wish that Kimberley – who is a character I love and not a racist – didn’t think all black people beautiful. It is worse in the US because of its racial history. People dismiss race and say, “We are all the same” – this is not true. I experience the world differently because I am female and because I am dark-skinned.

Your novel includes detailed descriptions of black women having their hair done. Please give me an honest description of your own hair and what it says about you?

That is the best question! My hair is in tiny cornrows; I have a big ponytail on the top of my head. I quite like it. It is natural. I am a bit of a fundamentalist when it comes to black women’s hair. Hair is hair – yet also about larger questions: self-acceptance, insecurity and what the world tells you is beautiful. For many black women, the idea of wearing their hair naturally is unbearable.

Tell me about your childhood…

I grew up in the university town of Nsukka in a big, close, laughing family. I was the first daughter, the fifth of six children. After the first three, my parents became more liberal and easy. My childhood was happy and effortless. My family is still close-knit. My father is a retired maths professor. My mother made history by being the first woman registrar at the university. None of my siblings is creative – they are sensible science people.

 

Read the rest of the interview here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2013/apr/07/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie-americanah-interview

An Encounter With Achebe By Nnamdi Nwigwe

Chinua-Achebe-Things-Fall-ApartThe news about the death of Chinua Achebe came exactly a fortnight after the burial of my eldest brother, Ben C. Nwigwe or as his Owerri contemporaries called him, Benji.

Achebe had come to mean so much to me, ever since our chat on the picturesque campus of the University of Ife, Ile-Ife in 1973, nearly 40 years ago.

Achebe was one of 20 people, who presented papers at an International Conference on “Publishing in Africa in the Seventies,” which was jointly organized by the University of Ife Press and the University of Ife Bookshop Ltd at Ile-Ife, from 16 to 20 December, 1973.

Over 100 people from different regions of the world participated in the conference; also individuals from over 14 African countries were in attendance

As an editor with the Afrika-Englisch Abteilung (Africa-English Department) of the Radio Deutsche Welle, the Voice of Germany, Cologne, I came to Ile-Ife, Nigeria, as a foreign participant among the large German team.

Pre-flight airport chit chats among the participants, on-flight discussions and conversations in the air-conditioned luxury bus that took us from Ikeja airport all the way to the beautifully landscaped University of Ife, centered on the conference and the prospect of each and every one of us meeting and shaking hands with Chinua Achebe whose expected paper on “Publishing in Africa: A Writer’s View” had been highlighted in the conference fliers.

As a Nigerian, as an Igbo man, I was really proud that our Achebe was held in such a high esteem by my German colleagues, some of whom were senior executives of the world famous Frankfurt Book Fair.

The first day of the conference, Sunday, 16 December, 1973, was taken up with protocol matters as the expatriates were checked into Hostel rooms which that had been paid for weeks before.

But even as many participants tried to settle down and get ready for the official opening the next day, Monday, 17 December, questions were being asked whether Chinua Achebe had arrived or not, and whether he would attend at all.

There were also insinuations as to whether the conference organizers weren’t merely using Achebe’s name to promote the conference. But before we retired for the night we received dependable information that Achebe had indeed arrived and would be there the next day, in flesh and blood, to present his paper.

The conference on “Publishing in Africa in the Seventies” eventually took off on Monday 17 December, 1973, with a welcome address by Dr. H. A. Oluwasanmi, the towering Vice Chancellor, University of Ife, Ile-Ife and an official opening address by the Federal Commissioner for Education, Chief A. Y. Eke who ignited the conference by announcing that the Federal Government had “given approval for the setting up of a provisional Nigerian Book Development Council to encourage all aspects of book production in Nigeria…”

That declaration set the scene for a thoroughly exciting five-day conference. The highlight of the conference however was Chinua Achebe, the famous author of “Things Fall Apart.”

His day and turn eventually came and the auditorium was overflowing with anxious participants and observers.

Despite the fact that students were away on holiday, apparently to make way for an effective use of the hostels for the visitors, a deluge of students and other residents of Ife descended on the campus to listen to Chinua Achebe.

We were all ears as the literary icon began his presentation.

Achebe took in the massive child-like attention and the innumerable pairs of eyes that were focused on him; slowly and methodically, he began to unravel his piece.

He painted a word picture of the visceral, physical and spiritual links between the writer and the reader by first contrasting it with the relationship between himself and the tailor that made the suit he wore.

“It is a tendency when we speak of books to forget or to give inadequate thought to the simple fact that our central purpose is a dialogue or the desire for a dialogue, between writers and their readers, that everybody else in the business is a facilitator…

When I put on a shirt I am not in communion with the factory hand who made the yarn nor even with the tailor who sewed it (especially if it mass produced)…

But when I read, somebody is talking to me; and when I write, I am talking to somebody. It is a personal, even intimate, relationship.”

The literary genius went on to explain what he termed “intermediaries” in the book publishing and distribution chain and, most importantly, he hammered on the need for indigenous publishers in Africa and the need for governments in Africa to support such efforts.

A master story teller, Achebe drew an unending applause when he concluded his presentation.

The audience was still standing virtually transfixed when Achebe was escorted out of the auditorium.

But the man wasn’t free yet. A crowd of Europeans and Americans surrounded him outside, each clutching a copy of “Things Fall Apart” and demanding his autograph.

Apparently already used to such rituals in the course of his travels, Achebe quickly thinned out the crowd as he furiously signed and signed on the opened pages of his great opus.

Soon it was my turn to hand in my own copy of “Things Fall Apart,” bought at the conference venue and about the fifth time I was to buy the book which I first read in Ghana, in 1965, as a Journalism student.

Fortuitously when Achebe looked up and saw me, he held out his hand to shake me as though we had met before.

I seized the moment and told him in Igbo that I desired a private meeting with him if he didn’t mind.

He agreed to see me later that day and told me where to meet him.

He wasn’t alone when I arrived but somehow he recognized me as the one to whom he had given an appointment and excused himself from his companions

Seeing him in a good mood, and relishing the gesture of friendliness he had earlier shown me, I needed no preambles.

“Am not very happy with you sir…”

He cut me short: “Ah Ah! Brother what’s the problem.”

I continued.

“I have been trying to write a novel. And before I can complete a paragraph I find myself repeating Achebe. Even our proverbs in Mbaise are quoted by you. I really can’t feel original as I labour to write…”

“Ok, I see what you mean,” he spoke with an assuring voice.

“You see, I am the son of a missionary teacher who dragged the family along to the various locations the authorities posted him. We lived in Umuahia area. You know, as children we mixed easily with the locals.

We come from the same background and there is no way we will not repeat ourselves if we decide to write about our people and our culture.”

He was very sympathetic and urged me to summon the necessary courage and start writing.

Tapping me on my shoulder, Achebe advised, “Write, Write, Write.”

He told me that he looked forward to reading me someday.

Pity. The book is yet to come. And Chinua is gone!

By Nnamdi Nwigwe