Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie pens a lengthy piece detailing her feud with Akwaeke Emezi
Nigerian novelist and feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a lengthy article in which she explains her side of the story of her four-year conflict with Akwaeke Emezi, an author she mentored.
Emezi, whose parents are Nigerian-Indian, has won numerous prizes for her debut novel, “Freshwater,” which she published in 2018. Emezi now uses the pronouns “they/them” after removing her breasts as part of her gender-fluid journey.
Emezi took part in a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie-led writing workshop in Lagos a few years ago.
After criticizing Chimamanda on social media over her unconventional belief in trans women, Emezi’s connection with Chimamanda seemed to have gone south. Months after Emezi’s criticism, Chimamanda took to her website to put out a three-part publication in which she denied allegations of being transphobic.
While revealing emails written by Emezi in an attempt to heal the fractures, the author voiced her disgust with him.
“After the workshop, I welcomed her into my life. I rarely do this because my experiences with young Nigerians left me wary of people who are calculating and insincere and want to use me only as an opportunity,” she wrote.
“But she was a bright young Nigerian feminist and I thought that was worth making an exception. She spent time in my Lagos home. We had long conversations. I was a support-giver, counsellor, comforter.
“Then I gave an interview in March 2017, the larger point of which was to say we should be able to acknowledge difference while being fully inclusive, that in fact, the whole premise of inclusiveness is a difference.
“I was told she went on social media and insulted me. This woman knows me enough to know I support the rights of trans people and all marginalized people. That I have always been fiercely supportive of difference, in general.
“And that I’m a person who reads, thinks, and forms my opinion in a carefully considered way. Of course, she could very well have had concerns with the interview. That is fair enough. But I had a personal relationship with her.”
Chimamanda also accused Emezi of lying “manipulatively” in a manner that exposed her to “reputational damage”.
The author, who never mentioned Emezi’s name, stated that the subject had included her (Chimamanda’s) name in the biography of her book despite reacting “viscerally” to being referred to in the news as Chimamanda’s protege.