The Danger of the Single Story

by David Miller Oct 9, 2009

What has been written about her story?

Image: Lola Akinmade

What are the implications of growing up reading about characters who are nothing like you?

Lola sent this to me yesterday. It’s a great talk by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie. She speaks about how vulnerable and impressionable children are as young readers.

She explains how she began reading at an early age. The only available books were British and American.

“When I began to write. . . I wrote exactly the kinds of stories I was reading. All my characters were white and blue-eyed They played in the snow. They ate apples. They talked a lot about the weather. . .

She goes on to explain how the unintended consequence of this early reading was that “I did not know that people like me could exist in literature.”

Chimamanda Adichie

How is your culture represented in literature? Please share you thoughts in the comments below.

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