Chimamanda Adichie, a renowned Nigerian author, has called on the literary world to tell
stories that are “overtly political” in order to challenge a world that she says lacks empathy
Adichie made the call while giving the keynote address at the Frankfurt book fair, the world’s
largest publishing event which held in Frankfurt, Germany on Tuesday.
Appealing for balance, she said writers should also tell stories that are not overtly political,
saying that humanity has the capacity to pursue what is right and just.
“It is time to expand our boundaries, widen the framework, know that what already exists can
sometimes be too narrow to fit the complex multiplicity of human experiences,” she said.
“I think we need more stories that are overtly political, more stories that look the world in the
face, but I also think we also need more stories that are not overtly political.”
Recounting an experience she had when she visited her Nigeria in her younger years, Adichie
canvassed for the need to always “speak truth” through writing and not giving way to silence
brought about by societal pressures.
She said to live in a society that treats every citizen in a just and equal manner is an advantage
that should be sought after through “boldness in storytelling.”
“My responsibility as an artist is to my art. My responsibility as a citizen is to the truth and to
justice,” she said.
“Art can illuminate politics. Art can humanise politics, but sometimes that is not enough.
Sometimes, politics must be engaged with as politics and this could not be more urgent today.
“The world is shifting, it’s changing, it’s darkening. We can no longer play by the old rules of
“We must invent new ways of doing, new ways of thinking.”
The Frankfurt book fair is the world’s most important gathering for the print and digital content
The fair, which is in its 70th year, also features outstanding social and cultural events.
For five days, publishing experts, writers and cultural enthusiasts from all over the world come
together at the fair in Frankfurt, Germany.