Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith in Conversation

CNA: People say, “Your female characters are so strong, how do you do that??” and I think… [makes face]

CNA & ZS: [laughs at all the basic people on Earth]

ZS: I think someone once very unwisely gave my mom a copy of Bridget Jones’s Diary in the mid-’90s, a book I found very funny and sweet but for my mom it might as well have been written in Swahili for as much as she comprehended the situation. “What is wrong with this woman? What is her issue? I don’t understand, what’s the problem here?”

CNA & ZS: [laughs again, schooling whole planet]

CNA: So for me, I’m writing about women who are familiar. Not to say that all women I know are strong and have their shit together. They’re not. But to say that the idea of a woman being strong, and simply being strong, not to prove anything or not to be unusual, is normal to me. Yeah! Right?


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