Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chinua Achebe on literature and ethnicity

"The creative enterprise is a magical space onto itself - the mind in mutual collaboration with the world and its elements to produce something of aesthetic value. Creative writers are like painters, using words to paint a literary tapestry. I think that words have a magic, that human situations- one's environment, culture, ‘ethnicity' as we have spent time re-discovering - can be unburdened to join other factors wordsmiths use to create literary magic - that extra dimension that the writer can conjure up by placing ideas about the human condition side by side on paper.
I suppose that cultural contexts is another name for what we have so far been calling the factors of ethnicity. Quite clearly these factors do shape literature. The cultural context within which a writer finds him/herself is relevant in so far as it brings something of literary value - contributes to the world story - and does not claim superiority over, deny, obscure or jaundice, even oppress other perspectives or stories. But having said that let me now admit that there are other factors and not least among them is the genius and free-will of the author."

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