Writings of the general word's body

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Diana Evans Looks Back

Diana Evans has written about her recently concluded tour of Nigeria, for a reading tour of her novel, 26a. Asked why she took 15 years to return, she writes...

I could only tell the truth. I don't know why it's been so long - it just has. I don't know anything about the problem of prostitution in Edo State; why should I - does being half-Benin link you by birth to a transnational news satellite system that keeps you up-to-date on region-specific social problems? Strangely, I felt more Nigerian than I had for a long time, not less. Perhaps it was something to do with the way I was welcomed, a Nigerian sister who'd done well overseas. I was a virtual VIP in Katsina, serenaded by musicians and flanked by the local notables amid the old broken windows of the polytechnic and the lights that didn't work. Used to low-key tea-and-biscuit readings, I felt ludicrously unworthy... I wished I could have stayed longer, in Lagos as well as further afield, sitting down eating akara and talking with this old relative I was getting to know again. We had only just got comfortable. It will absolutely not be another 15 years, I told her, before I come back again. In the meantime, I am listening to lots of Nigerian music and learning how to make egusi stew.
- Read on

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