Writers and fans attend Chimamanda Adichie’s book reading

Popular author, Chimamanda Adichie, held a reading for his latest book titled “Notes on Mourning”, at Alliance Française, Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos on 15th January 2022.

The event was an opportunity for fans and media professionals to connect with the writer whose works have won multiple awards over the years. A slide showing Adichie and her deceased parents was shown on the screen. The footage showed Adichie’s trajectory from childhood to becoming an adult. The book explores how the writer was able to cope with the grief of losing his father, Professor James Adichie, who died on June 10, 2020.

The event, which started about an hour late much to the dismay of many attendees, began with an opening speech by the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann.

Writer and editor, Eghosa Imasuen, also gave a brief look at Adichie’s profile before introducing her on stage. Adichie then took to the stage, adorning a red and black floral dress, which fitted snugly on her. Her presence drew cheers from people in the audience who were delighted to see her.

While reading the book, she recounted some of the memorable times she had with her late father and siblings, especially during the COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The “Half a Yellow Sun” author also spoke enthusiastically about her mother, Grace, who passed away a year after her husband’s death.

Adichie said, “How does a heart break twice? To be immersed in grief again barely breathing again, then to be thrust back mercilessly into grief that you can’t even articulate. How can my mother be gone forever and so soon after my father? My warm, loving, kind, quick-witted and beautiful mother. Unconditional supporter and cheerleader for her children, amusing and funny, source of delicious sarcasm and style icon, so keen of observation. She never missed anything.

During a Q&A, one guest, who lost his mother two weeks before the event, said he was still struggling to cope. He said, “I just want to be alone. I want to exclude everyone.

Other people who asked questions had similar stories and Adichie comforted them with words, expressing hope that they would find the strength to overcome their losses.

Responding to a question about how to deal with ‘collective grief’, the writer and mother-of-one said: ‘Grief made me regret certain words I had said to certain people in the past. This forces a kind of human humility in everyone. I felt bad to hear old people dying alone but I didn’t know mine was coming. I feel a kind of connection with people who have experienced bereavement. I’m (now) more forgiving too.

Regarding his goal of publishing the book, Adichie said, “I hope it helps someone else. Those are some of the things that have helped me – knowing that someone has felt what you feel. When someone tells me they’ve read my book and learned how to manage their grief, I feel better.

The reading was followed by a book signing session where Adichie autographed participants’ books and took pictures with them.

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