Our Workshops

Writer as Reader Workshops

An Ancient Silence: Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche's Americanah

December 7, 2013

At the end of the book, in the acknowledgements of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's masterful new novel, Americanuh, the author thanks her family, "who never wavered in that strange and beautiful faith born of love."  This faith is in a sense the novel's main character. Adichie approaches its strangeness and beauty with the grace and relentlessness of waves lapping against a boulder.  This workshop will explore how writers and readers -- including ourselves -- approach what is unspeakable. Beginning with the notion that to approach the unspeakable is, paradoxically, the work of reading and of writing, we will explore how Adichie keeps track of love while tracing the experience and the politics of postcolonial life across several registers and time zones. What is the use of language when it (always) stops short of its imagined target?  How does working in and across a range genres inform Adichie's, and our own, transactions with power, beauty, and change? Institute practices that strengthen opportunities for honest exchange and critical reflection will provide a grounding for us to situate ourselves, culturally and historically, so that we may, and may help our students, work unwaveringly with a vital text, strange and beautiful.  Text(s): Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanuh (Knopf 2013)