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Writers’ Corner: Five Lessons Young Writers Can Learn From Chimamanda Adichie’s Storytelling Journey

Lessons to Learn From Chimamanda Adichie’s Storytelling Journey

Storytelling has been given a fresh breath with the emergence of Nigeria’s literary pride, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in the last two decades. She, in her work, advocacy and action, gives us a true definition of literary narration. According to Chinua Achebe, “Adichie came readily made”. The statement implies that the 42 years old Lady from Enugu State in Nigeria is rebranding the African Narration to the world.

To say that Chimamanda Adichie is the most successful African Writer and storyteller in the last two decade is an understatement. She had in every regard being exception. She started like a silenced gun, taking the world by storm with her storytelling ingenuity. From her short stories to her debut work, “The thing around your neck.”

The accolades she has received are enormous. They can serve as an anchor to hold a ship down. Her recognitions will need a whole room to house it. With numerous awards and honours in her name, Adichie has set a statement to the world that words, the appropriate and intentional use of it, can make a difference in a generation in need of inspiration.

Her life and works have always been an inspiration to young writers out there – Writers who wish to steal or share her innate superpower of storytelling. As a fan of her work and personality, I have decided to share some lessons young writers can learn from the currently eventful journey of the word-smith.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Lessons From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Writing Journey

Learn From People In The Trade, Past And Present

One thing Adichie did well was to learn from other writers, past and contemporary writers. The writer, in her discussion, would always refer to works and writer who influenced her literary insight. Chimamanda has also put it out there that she started reading children book with British origin and this has in more ways than one influenced her storytelling acumen. She said she grew up surrounded by books. However, African literature opened her to a new aspect of storytelling.

“My Perception of Literature changed when I started reading African Literature,” She said, “feeling a great sense of connection with these books, feeling that there’s something different because it felt close and it felt familiar.”

Adichie never shied away from revealing that she was influenced by great African writers, like Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and other. Their influence served as a base for her work and success in the storytelling realm. Young writers should use works of literary icons has a mirror for their works. They must be ready to read all kind of books.

You Experience Must Influence Your work

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is good at conveying her life’s experience in her works. Most time Young writers are tempted to write pieces that are somewhat strange to their experiences. That one mistake, the author of Purple Hibiscus will never make. To make your works relatable, original and compelling, your original life experience or the experience of people you know must be reflecting in them.

Chimamanda’s “Half of A Yellow Sun” was the experience of her grandparents during the Nigerian Civil war. “Americanah” also reflected her experience when she moved down to America for tertiary education. Her experience made her work authentic and relatable.

In her Word: “I can write with authority only about what I know well, which means that I end up using surface details of my own life in my fiction”

People’s real-life experience could be a strong framework for your work. Like Chimamanda, it is important young writers tell stories that they are emotionally attached too. This makes their work easy to relate to by their readers.

 “I write from real life. I am an unrepentant eavesdropper and a collector of stories. I record bits of overheard dialogue.” Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda Adichie Honoured In Germany On Her 42nd Birthday

Don’t Be Frightened Of Writing Or Talking About Controversial Issues

“I Think People are frightened of saying what they think, and I think that a bad thing for the society” Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a blunt fellow. She talks about societal issues that affect everybody and herself, directly or indirectly. Even if the topic is a controversial and complicated one.

She is known for speaking her mind on issues like Gender, Feminism, Race and racism, Relationship, stereotypes and other volatile issues. In her TED Talk, titled “The Danger of a Single Story”, she spoke about how stereotypes affect our view of life’s reality “Now. I loved those American and British books I read. They stirred my imagination and opened up new worlds for me. But the unintended consequence was that I did not know that people like me could exist in literature”.

Must writers refrain from talking about controversial issues that affect them. This is not what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is good at. She bares her mind on issues that most people are uncomfortable with. Young writers must write about issues they are dissatisfied with. Not minding the disposition of other people to the topic. The world will hear and act concerning these issues only when they are spoken about.

“I am a person who believes in asking questions, in not conforming for the sake of conforming. I am deeply dissatisfied – about so many things, about injustices, about the way the world works – and in some ways, my dissatisfaction drives my storytelling” Chimamanda Adichie 


Groom And Impart Up And Coming Writer:

Chimamanda Adichie is generous enough to allow young writers to learn from her works, experiences and successes. She understands the importance of giving back to society. She does that through the training and grooming of young writers who will take the future of storytelling by storm.

She hosts an annual writers workshop for young writers. The Purple Hibiscus Writing Workshop, initially known as Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop is in its 12th season. The 2019 Edition will be held from the 9th to 14th December.

The workshop aims to improve the craft of writers and to encourage published and unpublished writers to bring different perspectives to the art of storytelling.

“Creative writing Programmes are not very necessary. They just exist so that people like us can make a living”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Interact With Foreign Culture And People:

One thing that has made Chimamanda’s work loved by the world is it diver realities. The writer’s interaction with different culture and people enriched her work. Apart from living in Eastern Nigeria, where she was born and bred, the beloved writer has also lived in Nigerian Western Region.

She has concrete experience with the people and culture of America and even the British culture. All these encounter and experience is an important variable to the successes of her works.

Young writers must learn to experience new cultures and people. They must love to travel and ask questions. This will give a new perspective to their creative minds. That interaction, that journey, that question might be the icing in your creative cake.

“I live half the years 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 the Nigerian eye.” Chimamanda Adichie

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About Author

Joshua Oyenigbehin is an introvert who is passionate about Storytelling, writing, and teaching. He sees his imagination as an unsearchable world, more magical than a fairyland. He has written a novel and working on another

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