Author: Chandra Dickey

A Review of Chinelo Okparanta’s ‘Under the Udala Trees’

Elegant prose, multifaceted characters, and a riveting plot are often markers of a great novel.  Chinelo Okparanta does this and more in her first novel, Under the Udala Trees. Set during the onset of the Biafran War in the late 1960s, the novel focuses on the coming of age story of Ijeoma, as she grapples with the violence and trauma the war brings to her life. Everything changes after her father is killed in an air raid—he stubbornly refuses to take shelter in their bunker with Ijeoma and her mother. Left with a dire economic situation, Ijeoma’s mother sends...

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Maryse Condé on the importance and challenges of truth-telling

Privileging the truth does not have to be an oxymoron to writers of fiction. In fact, at present, when some newspapers and journalists scramble to criminalize and demonize black people killed by police in the face of hard evidence shouting for their innocence, fiction can be a powerful place for the truth to shine. In 2011, Guadeloupean writer Maryse Condé highlighted the importance of writing one’s truth. It must be noted that Condé is one of the most influential Caribbean writers to date. Born in Pointre-A-Pitre, Guadeloupe, her stories have centered women, race, colonialism and the complicated relationships between the three....

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