“If you could have a cup of coffee and a chat with anyone in the world, who would you pick?”
Somehow this is a standard icebreaking question that I hear a lot. So, for those of you not yet tired of my ramblings, I have compiled a list to answer that question, and I will post about one of the people on the list every now and then.
1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I love Chimamanda. Let me say that again because it bears repeating; I love Chimamanda. Her book Americanah is amongst my favorite books ever. The Thing Around Your Neck was equally spellbinding, and her essay We Should All Be Feminists, based on the TED Talk below, voices many of my thoughts on feminism. I’m saving her other two novels, Half Of A Yellow Sun and The Purple Hibiscus, for when I need to lift myself out of a reading slump. Yeah, she really is that good.
There are so many reasons I want to talk to her that I might not be able to fit them into a single post. First of all, whenever I hear Chimamanda talk in speeches or interviews, she seems to me like a very kind, approachable woman.
She’s opinionated, and I would love to discuss her ideas of feminism and racism, and find out what else is on her mind.
Chimamanda is from Nigeria. I have never spoken extensively to anyone from an African country, and certainly not about the experience of being from an African country while living in the Western world. The cultural differences and her thoughts on them are fascinating to me.
Last but not least, she is one of my favorite writers. I want, more than anything, to talk to her about the way she writes. What is her writing process? Why does she write? How does she write? Does she have any advice for aspiring young writers like me? My list of questions is endless. Chimamanda, if you’re ever thirsty or hungry in Amsterdam, you are more than welcome at my place.
Let me end this post with some words of advice I got from Chimamanda. I try to live by them, and you should too.
“If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
Edit: I just got a ticket to see Chimamanda at the Amsterdam Brainwash Festival next month and I couldn’t be happier.