Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s first event of 2022 was a reading of Notes on Grief at the Alliance Française/ Mike Adenuga Centre in Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday, January 15. The event was co-organised by her with her publishers, Narrative Landscape Press.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is not a new name for anyone who follows the African literary scene as the Lagosian is arguably the most famous African writer today. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013), the short story collection That Thing Around Your Neck (2009) as well as the essay collection Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. She is a multiple award-winning writer with accolades like the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Orange Prize, US National Book Critics Circle Award, among many other honours.  

The author’s newest title, published in Nigeria by Narrative Landscape Press, is Notes on Grief and has the following blurb;

Notes on Grief is an exquisite work of meditation, remembrance, and hope, written in the wake of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s beloved father’s death in the summer of 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic raged around the world, and kept Adichie and her family members separated from one another, her father succumbed unexpectedly to complications of kidney failure.

Expanding on her original New Yorker piece, Adichie shares how this loss shook her to her core. She writes about being one of the millions of people grieving this year; about the familial and cultural dimensions of grief and also about the loneliness and anger that are unavoidable in it. With signature precision of language, and glittering, devastating detail on the page—and never without touches of rich, honest humor—Adichie weaves together her own experience of her father’s death with threads of his life story, from his remarkable survival during the Biafran war, through a long career as a statistics professor, into the days of the pandemic in which he’d stay connected with his children and grandchildren over video chat from the family home in Abba, Nigeria. In the compact format of We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, Adichie delivers a gem of a book—a book that fundamentally connects us to one another as it probes one of the most universal human experiences. Notes on Grief is a book for this moment—a work readers will treasure and share now more than ever—and yet will prove durable and timeless, an indispensable addition to Adichie’s canon.

In the packed audience were French ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, French Consul General in Lagos, Laurence Montmayrant; Titi Adenuga, wife to Nigerian billionaire, Mike Adenuga; and other members of the diplomatic corps, literary, media and business community alike. Chimamanda’s Nigerian publishers, Narrative Landscape Press were represented by their co-founder, Dr Eghosa Imasuen, who read the citation that followed the French ambassador’s introduction.

Following the reading, there was a Question-and-Answer session where the author fielded questions from readers and members of the press. It turned into an impromptu group therapy session as readers opened up about their struggles with grief and how the book is helping them.
“I also just felt really heartened that people were talking about their own grief. Ours is a country where we’re often told to move on. So you’re grieving and someone tells you, ‘oh, sorry, it has happened. Just move on” said Chimamanda.

 
“I’m grateful because I think it takes, not just showing vulnerability, but strength to talk about these things,” she added.
The event was wrapped up outside the amphitheatre where more fans were waiting to get their books signed by the author.

Here are some images of the event courtesy of Narrative Landscape Press.

Dr Eghosa Imasuen
Dr Eghosa Imasuen
Titi Adenuga
Titi Adenuga
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with fans
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with fans
Audience at Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reading
Audience at Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reading
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie signs books
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie signs books
Outside the venue at Chimamanda event
Outside the venue at Chimamanda event