Nnedi Okorafor interviewed by the Sentinel Nigeria

Nnedi Okorafor is interviewed by Sentinel Nigeria, by Unoma Azuah:

UA: Do you find it ironic that Nigerians especially at home have not quite caught up with engaging the fantasy genre considering the fact that the African cosmology is all about the flight of imagination. We’re all about the mystical. For instance in Africa, ancestors – the dead mingle with the living, there is the belief in reincarnation, persons can transform into reptiles or animals, etc.

Nnedi: The fantastic and mystical have always been part of Nigerian writing because it is part of Nigerian cultures. However, openly proclaiming a story to be fantasy is something that is rarely done. For example, Ben Okri’s work is fantasy but instead people avoid this label by calling it “magical realism.” I think some still feel that “fantasy” can never stand up to works of realism by great authors like Chinua Achebe or Buchi Emecheta or even with recent phenomenon writers. Also, I suspect that there can be religious barriers sometimes. Those African cosmologies you mention are indeed there in the background, but sometimes Islam and Christianity block their uninhibited full expression. – continue reading.


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