Chimamanda Adichie, award-winning Nigerian author, has urged writers to tell stories that are “overtly political” to make a difference in the world.
Adichie issued the charge on Tuesday while giving the keynote address at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is regarded the world’s largest publishing event.
The ‘Americanah’ author said humanity has the capacity to pursue what is right and just, adding that there is a need to always “speak truth” through writing.
She urged writers not to allow societal pressures shut them up.
“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.”
Adichie 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 complacency.
“We must invent new ways of doing, new ways of thinking.”
The Frankfurt Book Fair is an annual convergence of publishing experts, writers and cultural enthusiasts from all over the world.