SENTINEL POETRY
ONLINE MAGAZINE MONTHLY <  ISSUE #12  <  NOVEMBER 2003  <  ISSN 1479-425X

INTERVIEW

In the Footsteps of Chinua Achebe:
Enter Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
Nigeria's Newest Literary Voice- by Ike Anya


"It frustrates me that we choose, in Nigeria,
to ignore our recent history. I am often asked
why I write about Biafra, as though it is
something I have to justify."
- Adichie


A few years ago, over drinks with Ladipo Soetan, a Nigerian writer and lawyer and current President of the Lagos Association of Nigerian Authors, I had lamented the absence of a contemporary Nigerian novel. I had wished for a book that would capture the reality of life for young Nigerians of our generation in the way Chinua Achebe's novels No Longer at Ease and A Man of the People had done for the first generation of post colonial Nigerians. 

I wanted a story set in contemporary Nigeria the way Arundhati Roy's
God of Small Things exposed the face of contemporary India. I wanted a book that captured what it felt like to live through the growing pains of Africa's most enigmatic nation, and yet was readable and not couched in dense philosophy. I was convinced that my generation had a story to tell, and that in spite of the harsh economic realities and the death of publishing in Nigeria, that the talent was there to tell the story.

At that point Ladipo drew my attention to a book that would soon be published in the Heinemann's African Writers series by a friend and contemporary of his - Ike Oguine. It is perhaps instructive that  I did not have the opportunity to read the book,
A Squatter's Tale till I had arrived in the UK, many months later. It was virtually unobtainable in Nigeria. I enjoyed the book and it's depiction of Lagos life in the fastpaced nineties, when the deregulation of the banking sector led to a mushrooming of banks and financial institutions, and spawned a generation of sharply dressed bankers who cruised the streets in their flashy cars even while the Nigerian economy deteriorated. Equally amusing was Oguine's clear-cut depiction of the Nigerian immigrant experience in the US, something I had never come across before. I was saddened that the book did not receive the attention I felt it deserved.

Continues>>>

GUEST POET:
TOYIN ADEWALE-GABRIEL
About the poet
Poems

ERNEST DEMPSEY
Two Poems

CHIKA UNIGWE
Two Poems

INTERVIEWS:

IKE ANYA
In The Footsteps of Chinua Achebe: Enter CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE read>>>

NNOROM AZUONYE
My E-Conversation with
TOYIN ADEWALE-GABRIEL
read>>>

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