Writings of the general word's body

Saturday, October 14, 2006

In Conversation

Isioma Daniel sends in the following snippet from her conversation with novelist Sefi Atta at last month's Stavanger festival.

Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta is one of the best novels written by a Nigerian author I have ever read. Atta writes from a unique point of view – a progressive, middle-class one, and most importantly, Enitan, the narrative’s main character, breaks the mould of what a Nigerian woman should be. I spoke briefly to the author during this year’s Kapittel Literature Festival held in Stavanger, Norway.
- Isioma Daniel

Now, the Q & A...
  • Isioma Daniel: Why did you choose to write about a middle-class Nigerian girl?
  • Sefi Atta: I thought it would be easier to write about what I knew. It was only marginally easier. The middle-class Nigerian experience has really not been examined in our literature and as a reader, I’d always wondered why. As a writer, I have come to realize that publishers overseas are not that interested in stories about privileged cosmopolitan black African characters--or so it seems to me.
  • ID: Would you call your book a feminist novel for Nigerian women?
  • SA: It is a novel for anyone who is interested in reading it.
  • ID: What's your writing process like?
  • SA: I finish my first drafts in three to six months and then revise for years. I wrote my second novel, Swallow, five or six years ago. I started sending it out to publishers this year and it will be published in Nigeria in 2007.
  • ID: Who is/are your audience(s)?
  • SA: I am very much aware of an audience, a world audience. I write so that someone in Ghana might understand or someone in India or someone in Norway. Nigerians are my primary audience though. I always want Nigerians to say of my stories, yes, this is realistic.

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