Nigerians have applauded celebrated writer, Chimamanda Adichie, for her response during a recent interview in France when asked if there were any bookshops in Nigeria
The Americanah author’s answer, “I think it reflects very poorly on French people that you have to ask me that question. I think surely… I mean it’s 2018 “, has been dubbed an epic clapback.
The scenario played out at a global ideas event hosted by the French government called “La Nuit Des Idees” (A Night of Ideas) where Adichie, was the star guest.
The video of the event was posted by French news channel, Loopsider.
As the chat proceeded, the interviewer, Caroline Broue, a journalist, asked if her books are read in Nigeria.
“You’ll be shocked to know that they are, yes… They are read and studied, not just in Nigeria but across the continent of Africa,” she said.
Ms. Broue then followed up by asking if there were bookshops in the country.
The audience was taken aback and the visibly embarrassed journalist tried to rephrase her question in the right perspective, explaining, ” I ask because French people don’t know. They know only about Boko Haram. I would like to take advantage of your presence for us to talk about other things and things that we don’t know about your country.”
Adichie would later defend the interviewer on her Facebook page describing her as “Intelligent, thoughtful and well prepared,” during their wide-ranging conversation at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris.
She added it appears that ‘librairie’ was mistakenly translated as ‘library’ when it actually means ‘bookshop.’
Adichie, however, wrote, that she was taken aback because it (the question) was far below the intellectual register of her previous questions.
“Hers was a genuine, if flat, attempt at irony and I wish she would not be publicly pilloried,” Adichie wrote.
The novelist also wrote in the same post, “To be asked to ‘tell French people that you have bookshops in Nigeria because they don’t know’ is to cater to a wilfully retrograde idea – that Africa is so apart, so pathologically ‘different,’ that a non-African cannot make reasonable assumptions about life there.”
Nigerians have praised the award-winning author, humanist and feminist for her response.