Yes, I know, you’re shocked, but believe me I’m even more shocked than you are. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything and I’d really like to apologise for disappearing for so long. I have no excuse and I’m sorry. Forgive me? Thanks.
I suppose it’s fitting that it took another writer making a huge ass of herself for me to come up here and start blogging again. So let’s begin shall we?
I know that by now, most of you have heard about Chimamanda Adichie’s public meltdown over not being shortlisted for the Caine Prize for Writing while one of her “protégés” was. Those of you who haven’t can read about it here.
The whole thing was an embarrassing but nonetheless hilarious show of bad grace. Or as Chichi would probably say “bad belle full throat commot from mouth” or some equally ridiculous proverb. Sorry, is it obvious that I’m not a fan?
So, Chichi ranted, raved, snapped at the interviewer, dissed the Caine Prize and everyone who had ever shown up for her writing workshops or emailed her their stories and then when she realised what a mess she had made, she tried to backtrack by saying that Nigerians are never happy for one another and tear each other apart publicly but once we’re all back together in the motherland, we have nothing but love for each other so her behaviour is perfectly normal. Really Chichi? Really?
All this was especially rich coming from a woman who rose to fame thanks to nods from people like Chinua Achebe.
If Achebe had said “Chichi is just one of those girls who copy my themes and style of writing to make a name for themselves” I wonder where she would be today? After all, one could easily write an entire dissertation on the glaring similarities between Purple Hibiscus and Things Fall apart.
The thing is, considering how far beneath her the Caine Prize is, it’s funny that in 2002, she applied to enter it. Yup, she applied. They don’t come looking for you, you have to apply to them. She applied a year or two before she began prancing about in a field of purple hibiscuses in the light of half of a yellow sun and did she win? NO. Lol.
Fast forward 10 years to her latest book called “Americanah” which is a love story loosely based on her life which took her seven whole years to write. Though this book has received some favourable reviews, critics have described it as “bulky”, “relentlessly harsh”, “distinctly sour” with a lot of critics skimming through entire pages of unnecessary “reflection”. It is also full of characters who are constantly making backhanded comments and being bitchy towards each other (sound familiar?). The book doesn’t get the rave reviews she’s expecting and all of a sudden, the Caine Prize is beneath her. Well at least the Chicago Tribune liked her book.
Look, I’m not a soulless person, it must be hard to have peaked in your 20s and be in danger or sliding into obscurity in your 30s and it must be especially painful for Chichi since I’m sure she has an entire room full of head wraps she hasn’t had a chance to impress us with yet.
However, regardless of how pained she must feel at the possible culmination of her writing career, it still does not give her the right to make those comments about Elnathan John. I mean “One of my boys”? Seriously? How much more crass and derogatory can you be? For a minute, I actually thought he was one of the workmen hired to comb out that situation going on on her head every morning, and not an acclaimed writer in his own right. (Team natural, I will get to you another day).
Chimamanda, contrary to what you believe, the road to greatness is not paved with the heads of other writers, you need to accept that you are no longer the hottest thing out of Africa since jollof rice and there are now a number of writers who do a better job of writing African fiction. You need to take all that critique that was so kindly laid out for you and use it as a tool to improve your craft and grow as a writer.
You’re Afrocentric, we get it, it’s cool, it really is but a lot of people shop at Quintessence, it’s getting old. Your work has become predictable, flat and painful to read which quite frankly is a long way from the self-patronising and pretentious but at least marketable stuff we’re used to getting from you.
So be a big girl and get on with your life and maybe let the afro breathe from time to time because quite frankly, you’ve become that stereotypical bitter black woman and it’s a bit embarrassing and in the wise words of Sweet Brown “Aint nobody got time for that”.
I hope that wasn’t too heavy for a Friday morning and thanks for taking the time to read this.
Have a wonderful weekend guys! And don’t forget to leave a comment.