Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sparks controversy in online essay

For more than a decade, Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has trained and mentored African writers through her annual creative writing workshop. Held in Lagos and Awaka, Nigeria, the event has more than 200 graduates, including rising stars such as Ayobami Adebayo, whose debut novel “stay with mewas shortlisted for the Belize Prize, and Johor IleThe first Nigerian winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literature.

With just 20 students from thousands of applicants the workshops are intimate and, for some graduates, career-defining, leading to book deals, awards and residency.

“We become, even if only briefly, a family,” Adichie where is of the program

But now, a rift between Adichie and one of his most prominent students, author Akwake Emeji, has become public.

In a long essay Published on his website on Tuesday, Adichie accused a former student of publicly attacking her after a 2017 interview in which, among other things, Adichie said, “I don’t think that’s about women’s issues. Talking in is exactly the same as trans women’s issues.” Adichie kept the personal feud as a cautionary tale about how social media was used by “some young people” to be an ideological battered ram, rather than a place to communicate and understand. as has been done.

“There are many social-media-savvy people who are choking on sanity and lacking in compassion, who may preach about kindness fluidly on Twitter but are unable to actually show kindness,” she wrote. “People whose social media lives are case studies in emotional dryness. People for whom friendship, and their loyalty and expectations of compassion and support, no longer matter. People who claim to love literature – our humanity The dirty stories of – but also suffer from monotony to prevailing ideological stereotypes.”

While Adichie did not name Amezi or any other students, Amizi soon responded on Instagram, saying that Adichie had published the emails without asking permission, and that the essay was “a mob of transphobic Nigerians trying to target me.” was designed to provoke”. In a later post, Emezi, who uses the pronoun him/her and identifies as non-binary, criticized the publishing industry for championing Adichie, the author of the novels.americanh” and “half of a yellow sun

“Adichie’s social capital originated from the publishing industry,” wrote Emazzi, whose memoir, “dear senthurani, ” was published last week. “You in the industry continue to give her the platform, appreciating her work, with no mention of harming her views on the trans community and other writers.”

Through a publicist, Adichie declined to comment. Emzy did not respond to a request for comment.

The controversy – between prominent Nigerian writers whose work has garnered a wide international readership for contemporary African literature – echoes a larger debate about whether Twitter and other social media outlets use posture and virtuosity rather than honest expression. have become very toxic. “What matters is not the goodness but the presence of the goodness,” Adichie wrote. “We are no longer human. Now we are angels outnumbering each other. God help us. This is obscene.”

Shortly after Adichie posted her essay, there was a stir on social media. His name was a trending topic on Twitter for hours, garnering thousands of reactions. Some criticized and criticized his views on gender, while others agreed that some people use social media as a weapon.

Still others argued that Adichie’s and his critics’ views are both valid: “Chimamanda has a right to express anger and frustration at those she thought were friends who used her and deeply hurt her.” Trans women also have a right to defend themselves against being offended and targeted by her malicious politics, which she tries to pass off as philanthropy,” said Uju Anya, professor at Pennsylvania State University. wrote on twitter.

In the beginning, the relationship between Adichie and Emezi appears to be born out of mutual admiration. Adichie says he helped her by editing one of Emezy’s stories, publishing it, and writing a great introduction.

“I was very supportive of this writer. I didn’t have to be. I wasn’t asked to be. I supported this writer because I believe we need a diverse range of African stories,” Adichie wrote in his essay. Things took a turn for the worse after Adichie’s 2017 interview, which prompted Aimee to react on social media, saying that Adichie’s comments put the lives and rights of transgender people at risk.

Later, Adichie receives a copy of Emezy’s first novel,in fresh water”, and was surprised to find her name in Emezi’s bio. Adichie requested that it be removed.

The conflict escalated last year, when Adichie defended an essay by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling about sex and gender—a piece that was criticized by her critics. seized as transphobic – as “Totally justified.” Emezi made a long post twitter thread, I was giddy, saying that when her former teacher “said those things and then doubled down and then made fun of those of us who called her out (she called the response ‘trans-noise’).”

Adichie’s essay appears to be the first time that she has publicly addressed squabbles, describing personal attacks as a larger social and cultural problem of moral self-righteousness and reactionary attacks on people with differing views. , and those stances can have a corrosive effect on unbridled debate and discussion. “We have a generation of young people on social media who are so afraid of having the wrong opinion that they have robbed themselves of the opportunity to think and learn and grow,” she wrote.

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