Chimamanda Responds: Bookshop Question Was Ironic, Don't Pillory Her
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says in a post on Facebook that it's unfair to ridicule the French journalist who asked if there are bookshops in Nigeria.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has responded to the exchange she had with French journalist Caroline Broué on whether Nigeria has bookshops on Facebook.
In a post entitled, "On Bookshops - Not Libraries - in Nigeria," Adichie recounts the exchange how she remembered it and provides her thoughts on the conversation and criticisms that sparked as a result of the clip going viral.
"It appears that 'librairie' was mistakenly translated as 'library' when it actually means 'bookshop,'" she clarifies.
Adichie acknowledges that it's impossible for a French person to know almost everything about Nigeria, as she, herself, doesn't know almost everything about France.
"But 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," Adichie continues, "so pathologically 'different,' that a non-African cannot make reasonable assumptions about life there."
Adichie also makes a point to note that Broué was indeed thoughtful and prepared for their conversation, but that particular question had taken her aback.
"I now know that she was trying to be ironic, to enlighten by 'impersonating the ignorant,' but because she had not exhibited any irony until then, I didn't recognize it," she says. "Hers was a genuine, if flat, attempt at irony and I wish she would not be publicly pilloried."
Read the full commentary below. Make sure you don't miss her Lagos bookstore recommendation, too.