These are the issues we have with modern Nigerian authors

Someone began a discussion on Twitter about how out of touch modern African authors are and so many people agreed.

A young Chinua Achebe (Alamy)

We grew up reading simple tales from Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Buchi Emecheta and Flora Nwapa, their writing mirrored the Nigerian of the past and the present (their present), and with contemporary authors like Chimamanda Adichie, Lola Shoneyin, Sefi Atta and, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, we see the same simplicity in storytelling, but somewhere down the line, something went wrong with modern Nigerian authors. What is it?

At times, it feels like they’re writing to a child. A character enters a place and everything has to be described, every feeling and emotion is over-emphasised. It is an exhausting way to write. A writer must know what to include and what to leave out.

You would think it is impossible to misappropriate your own culture until you read these books. Some of these authors are clueless about Nigerian food and language but fail to research. For a Caucasian, it’s easy not to notice but hard to miss as a Nigerian.

These authors spend most of their writing on romanticising situations and wishful thinking, making the plot move on slowly.

It’s important to grab your audience with a central theme, but it’s hard to find when the plot lags and the central figure keeps wishing and soliloquising.

Most write excellently, others, not so much.

Writing is hard, one of the most difficult things in the world to do but many of these writers do not work hard enough to become coherent prose writers.

The clarity of thought, simplicity and sophistication of language is missing these days.

What makes 'Things Fall Apart' a classic forever is it was an honest book, written about the Igbo culture with no commentary about whether it is good or bad.

The lead character Okonkwo was flawed but undeniably African. We must tell honest stories and if it means thorough research, living with the people you’re writing about, then do it.

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