Nigerians have applauded celebrated writer, Chimamanda Adichie, for her response during a recent interview in France when asked if there were any bookshops in Nigeria
The Americanah author’s answer, “I think it reflects very poorly on French people that you have to ask me that question. I think surely… I mean it’s 2018 “, has been dubbed an epic clapback.
The scenario played out at a global ideas event hosted by the French government called “La Nuit Des Idees” (A Night of Ideas) where Adichie, was the star guest.
The video of the event was posted by French news channel, Loopsider.
As the chat proceeded, the interviewer, Caroline Broue, a journalist, asked if her books are read in Nigeria.
“You’ll be shocked to know that they are, yes… They are read and studied, not just in Nigeria but across the continent of Africa,” she said.
Ms. Broue then followed up by asking if there were bookshops in the country.
The audience was taken aback and the visibly embarrassed journalist tried to rephrase her question in the right perspective, explaining, ” I ask because French people don’t know. They know only about Boko Haram. I would like to take advantage of your presence for us to talk about other things and things that we don’t know about your country.”
Adichie would later defend the interviewer on her Facebook page describing her as “Intelligent, thoughtful and well prepared,” during their wide-ranging conversation at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris.
She added it appears that ‘librairie’ was mistakenly translated as ‘library’ when it actually means ‘bookshop.’
Adichie, however, wrote, that she was taken aback because it (the question) was far below the intellectual register of her previous questions.
“Hers was a genuine, if flat, attempt at irony and I wish she would not be publicly pilloried,” Adichie wrote.
The novelist also wrote in the same post, “To be asked to ‘tell French people that you have bookshops in Nigeria because they don’t know’ is to cater to a wilfully retrograde idea – that Africa is so apart, so pathologically ‘different,’ that a non-African cannot make reasonable assumptions about life there.”
Nigerians have praised the award-winning author, humanist and feminist for her response.
Here are some of the unedited online conversations the episode has generated.
Chinedu Njoku Your disposition and response towards her sickly question were the best. I would have preferred an anwser the aggravates her feigned ignorance. Yes, they know of Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen and probably, more about the septugenerian who steers the affairs of government in Abuja. They know nothing about you, John Ikechukwu Okafor, Psquare nor Chioma Ajunwa. Some persons actually need brain transplant to think positively in life. Ironically, she interviewed a Nigerian; to satisfy her ego, a would have been suicide bomber. One of THE DANGERS OF A SINGLE STORY about Africa.
Donald Abonyi I love you -CNA. Thank you for everything you do for me, for us, for Nigeria, for Africa and for the whole world — giving humanity a face by telling stories the way they should be told.
Kevin Nwoko Love you CNA. Let that journalist come to Naija. She will see Naija men/women that speak better French and English than her. She still believes the fairy tales of her great grand parents.
Olusegun Olufemi I must say that I love your quick thinking and response to that silly question. You made us all proud. Maybe it is time for a new media campaign about Africa. The ignorance about our continent is of exponential proportions. If anyone has any ideas about this new media campaign pls make suggestions.