Maureen Eke: What do you see as the place of the short story in African literature?
Ama Ata Aidoo: I think the short story is unfortunately rather misrepresented. As somebody who has also worked with that other ‘brief’ genre, poetry, I have found that African scholars and teachers have paid attention only to the novel. This is to be lamented.
Vincent Odamtten: Sometimes people accuse me of over-reading No Sweetness Here (1970), but when I look at your collection there is a sense of an interrogation of the moment after independence: you use the notion of post-independence to interrogate women's lives in particular, and the society's life more generally, and you ask what it means to be independent. The stories that you selected seem to have this bond between them. What choices do you make to select particular stories for your collections? What motivates you, and what is the controlling paradigm that you use to include one short story and exclude another?
Ama Ata Aidoo: First of all, I think that any kind of attention to one's work is valuable as far as a writer is concerned. Even the most outlandish readings into my stories, my poems, my novels or my plays, are most welcome! If you don't talk about a piece of work, then you are killing it; you may not actively intend to kill it, but as I said earlier this afternoon [in the M. K. O. Abiola Lecture, ‘Clapping With One Hand, Or A Fundamentally Flawed Management of Post-Colonial African Public Spaces’], we can do all we want as writers, but if people don't read us and don't talk about our work, our books are not worth much because it is the interaction that completes the work.
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