Lit Up Episode 5: Chigozie Obioma on His Formative Nigerian Roots

This week we talked to Chigozie Obioma about his breakout, debut novel The Fishermen set in his hometown of Akure, Nigeria. This book is part allegory, part family drama and tale of redemption. We really enjoyed shifting the focus from America towards Africa this week. We hope you do too.

We also have to acknowledge what a newsy week it’s been in the world of literature.

We had Salman Rushdie calling Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Peter Carey,  Joyce Carol Oates, Junot Díaz and many other writers “pussies” on Twitter – classy move. Why? Because they withdrew from the PEN American Center gala, citing objections to the literary and human rights organization’s honoring of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. There hasn’t been such a dividing topic in a while in the literary world and there are many compelling arguments for and against. Here are a couple of pieces we like that get to the heart of the issue:

PEN Has Every Right to Honor Charlie Hebdo by Adam Gopnik for The New Yorker

How and Why 35 Writers Denounced PEN Over Charlie Hebdo by Boris Kachka for Vulture at New York Magazine.

We love your feedback, so please let us know what you think about any aspects of this week’s show.

xx A & E

Chigozie Obioma was born in Nigeria. He has lived in Cyprus, Turkey and now the United States where he is a Helen Zell fellow at the University of Michigan. A recipient of Hopwood Awards in fiction and poetry, his fiction has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review and Transition. His novel, THE FISHERMEN, will be published originally in English by ONE/Pushkin Press (UK), Little, Brown (US/Canada), Scribe (Australia/NZ), and in 8 languages beginning from Spring 2015.

1128011 chigozie-obioma-photocredit-zach-mueller

 Buy The Fishermen on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local independent book store.

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  • Panda

    I’m loving this show it just gets better and better.
    Lovely to hear about NY life from the 2 hosts and then listen in to a wonderful conversation with nominated author. It is definitely a highlight of my week.