Taiye Selasi (b. November 2): “I write essays to clear my mind, fiction to open my heart.”

2 Nov


Taiye Selasi, born 2 November 1979, is an English writer born to Nigerian and Ghanaian parents. She has published three collections of short stories and the novel, Ghana Must Go.

Quotes on writing:

  1. I write essays to clear my mind. I write fiction to open my heart.
  2. As a novelist, I ask of myself only that I tell the truth and that I tell it beautifully.
  3. The writer presents himself to the blank page not with an open passport but an open heart.
  4. As a writer, one is obliged to release her words, to let them live in the world on their own.
  5. I’ve written fiction for as long as I can remember; it’s always been my preferred form of play.
  6. I consider myself West African, among other cultural identities, and a writer, among other creative ones.
  7. That’s what makes writer’s block so painful. You think the well has run dry, maybe somewhere in the heavens the tap has been turned off. That’s beyond frightening.
  8. So often, literature about African people is conflated with literature about African politics, as if the state were somehow of greater import or interest than the individual.
  9. I read recently that the problem with stereotypes isn’t that they are inaccurate, but that they’re incomplete. And this captures perfectly what I think about contemporary African literature. The problem isn’t that it’s inaccurate, it’s that it’s incomplete.

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