Popular author, Chimamanda Adichie, organised a reading for her latest book titled, ‘Notes on Grief’, at Alliance Francaise, Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, on January 15, 2022.
The event was an opportunity for fans and media practitioners to connect with the writer whose works have won several awards over the years. A slide showing Adichie and her late parents was displayed on the screen. The pictures showed the trajectory of Adichie from when she was a child till she became an adult. The book explores how the writer was able to deal with the grief of losing her father, Prof James Adichie, who died on June 10, 2020.
The event, which started about an hour late to the discomfiture of many attendees, began with an opening remark from the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann.
Writer and publisher, Eghosa Imasuen, also gave a brief rundown of Adichie’s profile before introducing her on stage. Adichie then came on stage, adorning a red and black flowery gown, which sat snugly on her. Her presence attracted cheers from people in the audience who were excited to see her.
Reading from the book, she narrated some of the memorable moments she had with her late dad and her siblings, especially during the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
The ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ author also spoke glowingly about her mother, Grace, who passed on a year after her husband’s demise.
Adichie said, “How does a heart break twice? To still be immersed in grief barely breathing again and then to be plunged callously back to a sorrow you cannot even articulate. How can my mother be gone forever and so soon after my father? My warm, loving, kind, quick-witted and beautiful mother. Unconditional supporter and cheerleader of her children, fun and funny, source of delicious sarcasm and style icon, so sharply observant. She never missed a thing.”
During a question and answer session, a guest, who lost his mother two weeks before the event, stated that he was still finding it hard to cope. He said, “I just want to be alone. I want to shut everyone out.”
Other persons who asked questions had similar stories and Adichie comforted them with words, expressing hope that they would find the strength to get through their losses.
Answering a question on how to deal with ‘collective grief’, the writer and mother of one said, “Grief made me regret some words I had said to some people in the past. It forces some kind of humane humility on one. I felt bad hearing that old people died alone but I did not know mine was coming. I feel a kind of connection to people who have experienced grief. I am (now) more forgiving too.”
On her aim for publishing the book, Adichie said, “I hope it would help someone else. These are some of the things that helped me – knowing that someone has felt what one is feeling. When someone tells me they read my book and learnt how to handle their grief, it makes me feel better.”
The reading was followed by a book-signing session where Adichie autographed the books of attendees and took pictures with them.