As her latest work Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions hits the bookshelves, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie opens up to The Sunday Times magazine about Trump, feminism and how her work has evolved.
The novel whose first novel, Purple Hibiscus, was published when the author was only 26 has gone on to publish two more, Half of a Yellow Sun which won the Orange Prize and was turned into a film and Americanah which won the National Book Critic Circle award in America and has been optioned by Brad Pitt’s Plan B for a movie.
Not only does the author shed a light into her daily life and writing process, she also discusses at length living in America, Nigerians’ reaction to her feminism and her plans on how to raise her daughter.
“America doesn’t feel like America any more. I wake up every day worried. I worry because I don’t know why the adults in the room are not stepping in. I am just so disappointed in America. I am not shocked because an unhinged person becoming a leader of a country in unsurprising to me. It’s not. I just didn’t imagine it would happen in the US.”
On her private life
We met in Nigeria, that’s all I will say. I don’t like talking about my private life. It very easily gets taken out of context in the Nigerian media.”
On raising her daughter
“I am a bit of a control freak – I keep saying you need to be willing to step away and let someone help you, but then I want to be the person who gives her a bath every day, even if I am exhausted and have been really busy, up late writing. My childminder says you should stop, and I say, ‘No, I have to,’ and there’s a part of me that thinks, ‘I don’t think you really clean her ears properly.'”
“Being a feminist is like being pregnant – you either are or you’re not. I don’t want a woman’s wellbeing to depend on men’s kindness or a man’s ability to respect her. Women are fully equal. It’s like saying if women rule the world, there will be no wars. – I baulk at this, as it’s something I say – ‘Well, have you been to a girls’ boarding school?’ I’ve seen goodness, gentleness and kindness in men and I’ve seen it in women, The idea that somehow women are better I just don’t buy.
Feminism is a word people often react to with hostility and I’ve experienced it a lot. People say why don’t you just call yourself a humanist? I am a humanist, but to call it that it’s like you don’t want to admit there is a group of people in the world who, because they were born with certain body parts, have been treated badly. We need to call things by their names to solve them.”by