L-R: Sheila Chukwulozie; Alumni Farafina Trust, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Initiator Purple Hibiscus Trust Writing Workshop, Sam Onyemelukwe, Managing Director Venator Partners/Trace Nigeria, Mazi Nwonu Alumni Farafina.
Acclaimed author of Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah, and The Thing Around Your Neck, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has announced the return of her yearly creative writing workshop.
Formerly known as Farafina Trust Writing Workshop, it will now be called Purple Hibiscus Trust Writing Workshop. The yearly workshop, initiated for emerging writers in Africa, has been an academic platform for writers to learn and unlearn the art of creative writing at its best from established writers.
Adichie, who addressed journalists in Lagos last week, said the workshop was initiated to give writers opportunity to learn the rhythm and techniques of creative writing.
“I wish I had people of same mind when I took writing seriously, as a profession and career to make available a platform to learn like Farafina. So, I started Farafina Trust for upcoming writers to have what I didn’t have.
“I feel very proud that the workshop has contributed to the growth of a lot of writers,” she said.
According to the lady, “it is important to have diverse people who come from different world with a diversity of opinion to shape their creativity. The workshop is a place for people from all walks of life and these people are being trained to know that writing is important and every society needs a storyteller.”
She further stated how she started off her writing career with not so coherent and comprehensible poetry and plays. But said it all worked towards what comes true to her – fiction: “I was meant for fiction!” Adichie said.
Adichie, who also addressed her stance on feminism, said although men and women are not the same biologically, they are equal and should have equal access to life and everything in it.
“Women and men should be given equal opportunity. No one should stop anyone no matter the sex from being what he/she wants to be. Talents and intelligence cut across gender, so women should be allowed to occupy positions of authority.”
Adichie said, “there is a massive gap in empathy.”
For her, “it still puzzles that feminism is still controversial, as people use culture and religion to justify it. Feminism is about justice. Gender should not be used as a reason to hold people back or forward; it is important to tell men to quit being predators.”
On her style of writing, she said: “I don’t think I’m a poet. I started with tiny books, but it did not go well. The first books were like trying to find myself and I finally found myself in fiction.” On when next to expect a new book from her, she laughed and said: “I don’t know exactly, but what I can say is watch out.” Some of the alums of the workshop, Sheilla Chukwunozie and Mazi Nwonwu also shared their experiences about the workshop, how it really impacted them and changed their lives.
The workshop, billed to run from November 20 to 30, 2018, is sponsored by Trace Nigeria.
According to the Managing Director of Venator Partners/Trace Nigeria, Sam Onyemelukwe, “African youth don’t have opportunity to be recognised despite their hard work,” adding, “so the workshop will be a great platform for them.”
Onyemelukwe continued, “we are very pleased to partner with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.”
He said, “she is an inspiration to youths in Africa and around the world. Through her arts, she not only entertains but challenges stereotypes and kindles conversations that would often otherwise not be had.”
Application for the workshop will be via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email subject should read ‘Workshop Application’ while the body of the email should entail name of applicant, address, illustrations about ‘yourself’ and a fiction or non-fiction writing sample between 200-1,000 words.
Applications for the workshop opened from September 24 and will end on October 15, 2018. The final shortlisted applicants will be notified on November 7, 2018 while the workshop kicks off on November 20, 2018. The organisers said accommodation will be provided for all accepted applicants in Lagos for the 10-day duration of the workshop.