Black Boy Review

Theophilus Sokuma: Being Taught by Chimamanda Adichie Was a Cocktail of Emotions


What was it like having to be taught by the amazing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ? Was it your first time of applying ? 

It was my second time. I had applied for the first time the previous year but did not get in. Being taught by Chimamanda was a cocktail of emotions. There were times I was anxious and there were times I was laughing at the top of my voice. Chimamanda is a blend of wit, insight, warmth and fierceness and she brought them all to the table. I enjoyed each session with her. We talked about writing and social issues, and Chimamanda displayed such admirable wisdom. She gave out compliments when it was needed and brought out the rod when needed


What were the highlights of your classes ? What major things did you go home with ? Do you want to repeat a class like that again?

I loved the writing tasks. I loved the mini chat on social issues we had amongst ourselves. I loved the food. I could go on. Every bit of the workshop was a great highlight for me. The writing tasks made me realize how so little I knew about writing. It revealed the different technicalities of writing and how to “add flair to our writing” (using Lola Shoneyin’s words) and Yes, I would love to repeat a class like that again. A little bird (not a person but my subconscious) once whispered to me to reapply using a different name and then wear a new look to the workshop. Lol. But I do not think I can pull that off. Chimamanda would spot the lie faster than I can pull it off.


Tell us about other extra activities asides the class and your best moments with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ?

I loved our picture taking session.  On one of the workshop days, Chimamanda walked into the class and said she would be taking selfies with each of us. She walked to where each participant sat, brought her face close to ours and with a click, we captured the moment. For me that was my best moment, because here was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of several award winning books and a recipient of several honorary doctorate degrees taking pictures with a boy from somewhere who simply loved writing. 



What has changed since after the class ? Are you working on new projects ? Let us know what can propel more young people to apply the next time.

I was a writer of primarily poetry before the workshop and the piece I submitted was one of my few attempts at writing prose fiction. I still write Poetry but I would like to major in prose now. I love the form, and Yes, I have a few work in progress. I am a slow writer so I tend to take a lot of time with a piece. 

Let young writers write honest pieces, and avoid playing the feminist card, and by this I mean, write pieces they consider to be feminist where the protagonist is a woman suffering and lifting the weight of the world, because they feel Chimamanda would be taken in by them. Just write honest pieces. 

And also, when applying, they should not send in attachment because attachments are automatically disqualified. Lastly, keep writing even if you never get into the workshop. 

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