Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche is one of the seven personalities featured on the seven different covers of The New York Times’ T Magazine’s October Greats issue.
The personalities chosen to grace the T magazine covers are all masters in their respective fields and as a succesful author turned public intellectual, it was no surprise that the Americanah author made it to the cover.
The pulication described Ms Adichie as a “humanist on and off the page”.
“She is the rare novelist to become a public intellectual — as well as a defining voice on race and gender for the digital age,” The New York Times Style Magazine wrote of her.
The magazine told a story which occurred recently in the life of the 40-year-old author. Not long ago, Adichie, who has a 23-month-old daughter, stood in front of a small class of literature students at Cardozo high school in Washington, D.C and faced her audience.
She asked the 20-odd students, “So, what should we talk about?” but no one raised their hand.
Adichie was wearing a T-shirt that read, in glittering letters, “We Should All Be Feminists,” and she carried a Christian Dior bag that bore the same message, both inspired by her 2012 TEDx Talk, which has been viewed over four million times, Dave Eggers wrote for The New York Times. The students had been assigned to read Adichie’s essay based on the talk, and thus it was dispiriting when the first question came from a young man, originally from Ghana, who very politely asked how Adichie was balancing her work with the responsibilities of motherhood.
She looked down and smiled. She took her time, and then, with her chin still lowered, she raised her eyes to look kindly at the student.
“I’m going to answer your question,” she said, “but you have to promise me that the next time you meet a new father, you ask him how he’s balancing his work and the responsibilities of fatherhood.”
The young man shrugged. Adichie, who is 40, smiled warmly at him, but thereafter, the class, already intimidated and shy, grew only more so.
“Why don’t I read a bit?” she said finally, and she did.
Afterward, Adichie and I sat at a restaurant in Columbia Heights. “He was quite sanguine, wasn’t he?” she said about the young man she’d carefully corrected. “Maybe he’s young enough that he hasn’t been indoctrinated into the cult of how and when to take offense. He can still look at the merits of an argument. Either that, or he was looking pleasantly at me and thinking, ‘Bitch, go away.’ ”
The New York Times T magazine October Greats issue will be out on October 22nd. Other peronalities featured on the other covers are; Nicki Minaj (rapper), Park Chan-Wook (director), Amy Adams (actor), Claes Oldeburg (artist), Stephen Sondheim (composer), and Dries Van Noten (fashion designer).
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