The Art of Good Storytelling

February 28, 2012

Chimamanda Adichie

(Photo by David Noe)

In tune with Rollins’ commitment to fostering cultural diversity, Nigerian born author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie completed the 2012 Winter with the Writers global literary family of celebrated novelists, poets, and columnists. On Thursday, February 23, Adichie shared excerpts from her lush and graceful writing, the tales behind her stories, and insight into her writing process.

Reading first a selection from an unfinished memoir and then a short story from The Thing Around Your Neck, her most recent book, Adichie enchanted those listening with her gifted story-telling ability and insightfully clever wit. “Saying ‘have faith’ is like saying ‘be tall and shapely,” she recited from her memoir, rousing prolonged laughter from the audience.

“Writing is always a discovery for me,” said Adichie during the informal question and answer session that followed her reading. “I take bits and pieces of stories from my life and mold them into my fiction, but I never know how they’re going to end. That’s why I love it. If I knew the whole story before I started writing, I wouldn’t write it. It would be boring.”

When asked if it was difficult for her writing to stay true to her roots while still being accessible to a broad American audience, Adichie answered, “I cannot be anything other than who I am. I tell the best stories I can, understanding that some people will be able to relate to them and others won’t.” Offering advice, she urged aspiring writers to read and write everything. “Writing is the practice of telling a good story.”

The Winter With the Writers interns took Adichie’s advice, along with the wisdom and critique of all of the featured writers, to heart. “This experience has given me the encouragement to continue writing and explore my literary potential,” said Lisa Murray ’13, a Winter With the Writers intern. “During the master classes, each artist took the time to make sure that every intern had the chance to hear an in-depth critique of their writing.”

Director of Winter With the Writers Carol Frost thanked her interns for helping make the festival of literary arts a success. “My interns are very special students and this program would not have happened without their steadfastness, flexibility, and dedication,” said Frost.

Frost’s passion, along with the high quality of featured visiting artists, made the 2012 Winter With the Writers another resounding success. For more information on this year’s featured writers, please visit Winter With the Writers.

By Justin Braun

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