INTERVIEW: Nancy Adimora, Creator of AFREADA

I recently bought the book “The Good Immigrant” a collection of short stories on being a person of colour in the UK, the funny situations and less funny micro-aggressions that people of colour deal with on a day to day basis. When I open this book I’m received with open arms, I’m understood and more importantly, I understand.

This is the power of short stories and the importance of being represented. Nikesh Shukla, Editor and one of the authors of The Good Immigrant tweeted me saying “we got you… enjoy the book”, I thought “he has me” and my heart swells knowing that there are people out there who ‘get me’.

“Yes, Africa writes, but baby girl Africa reads!”

In my revived excitement over African writers, I started thinking about African readers, people like me, who sometimes reads a lot, other times very little, but who are always ready to engage in storytelling in whatever form it comes. Which had me thinking, there’s a lot being said about writers but what about readers? Readers are the powerhouse behind literature. The readers imagination adds the colour between the black and white lines of a story. With this on my heart I started pursuing a conversation about readers, African readers; which naturally led me to AFREADA.

AFREADA – Africa’s Online Literary Magazine

AFREADA is an online literary magazine, featuring original short stories from emerging writers across the African continent. A fusion of the two words, ‘Africa’ and ‘Reader’. AFREADA lives for the well-crafted narratives and effortless reads that speak to our daily realities as Africans at home and abroad.

Nancy Adimora, Creator of AFREADA

I caught up with the powerhouse behind AFREADA, the amazing and magnetic Nancy Adimora.

Nancy is a 23 y/o Nigerian-Londoner with an impressive catalogue of experience having completed her MSc in Leadership and International Development with the African Leadership Centre at King’s College London, and earned her Bachelor in Laws (LLB) from Queen Mary, University of London. In addition to working on partnerships and content creation for TEDxEuston.

If you catch Nancy staring into the distance, she’s probably day-dreaming about a hot plate of Ofe Akwu, or thinking about social innovation and multimedia storytelling in Africa. When she isn’t preaching about “the power of ideas”, Nancy can be found waiting for her Green tea to cool, or stalking strangers on Instagram.

Listen to this episode featuring Nancy and I on African literature, AFREADA and travelling through stories.

Travelling through short stories

The Concubine by Elechi Amadi  was the first time I had ever been to Nigeria (in my mind), this book transported me to somewhere that felt so close and yet so far. It was also warming to discover my mum read it when she was in school too. A book is a passport for the imagination, they take me to different places, people and perspectives.

Imagine travelling across Africa in a week. No visa application, no customs, Just awe-inspiring short stories. We are bringing words and worlds together. Cape Town to Cairo. Lagos to Lusaka. Welcome to AFREADA.

Books that have shaped us into the women we are today

  • Nancy – Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Me (Louisa) – UGLY (and Beyond Ugly) by Constance Briscoe 

Half of Yellow Sun – “It was one of those books that teach you about yourself, what it means to call yourself Nigerian, what it means to call yourself Igbo. This was my introduction to African Literature” Nancy Adimora

African literature is not just to be studied, it’s to be enjoyed

Ahead of this episode, Nancy dropped some gems over the phone stating that too often people want to “study” African literature and the Black experience, and because of that, writers can get caught in a web of making stories that people need to examine, instead of just enjoy. Whilst there is a lot (and I mean a lot) to be understood about the Pan-African experience, we aren’t specimens and neither are our stories. They can be heavy, but they can also be light-hearted and for enjoyment purposes only, if they so wish.

“Baby girl, if you want to talk about love, talk about love. If you want to write about the time your mum made you wash the dishes when you wanted to go out with your friends. Write about it” Nancy Adimora

It was an absolute pleasure to speak to Nancy and I know you’ll love connecting with her in this episode too. Let me know your thoughts and particularly the books that have shaped you.

“Write your vision, make it plain” – Nancy Adimora, words to live by.

Thank you for your comments!