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“Before I knew the word Feminism, I had a genuine empathy for the female gender “—ARINZE IFEAKANDU

“Before I knew the word Feminism, I had a genuine empathy for the female gender “—ARINZE IFEAKANDU

Jun 14, 2023

CHUDE: Why has “The Joys of Motherhood” stood out so powerfully for you as a writer?

ARINZE: One of the things that happened to me when I went to get my masters was like I was living in this place with a lot of writers and there’s this sense in which I began to think of storytelling as this clinical thing which was a profession. But that period took away the magic of literature from me, which is why I had always thought of literature as magical. 

Then when I think of “The Joys of Motherhood” and the experience I had while reading that book, I’m like literature is really magical. What that book did for me as a 13-year-old who was reading it although I was privy to the experiences of the women in my life, but what that book was did was to sort of synthesize those experiences into a singular action. I could just see cause and effect play out in real-time and I was like this is the effect of what our society does to people this is how it affects people and I could actually see it in the reality of the people around me. I was like if literature can do that to me even long before I knew about the word feminism which of course I knew when I started listening to Chimamanda. So, long before I knew the word feminism I already had an experience or perhaps some kind of empathy you know for the female situation. So, there are not many books like that for me that sort of strike at the heart of a person and say Hey you have to actually look at the world.

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