She adores Amitav Ghosh, has lived in three continents, and is endorsed as the next big thing by Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison. Meet the gorgeous new face of 'Afropolitan' writing, Taiye Selasi.
Selasi, burst on to the literary scene with a deeply moving short story, 'The Sex Lives of African Girls', which was featured in Granta magazine's feminist issue, The F Word last year. At Jaipur, she's still shocked about Rushdie cancelling his visit to the festival. "I never expected Mr. Rushdie not to come. But it was great to see the support from other writers. In 2012, if the threat of violence is used to prevent an artist from sharing his work, it is draconian and heartbreaking," she proclaims.
Selisa was introduced to Rushdie by a common friend in New York. Later she turned to him for advice on her latest book,
Ghana Go Home
. "I sent him the first 100 pages of my novel and he was incredibly supportive about my future," she says. Born in London to parents of Ghanaian descent and raised in America, Selisa was trying to describe her experience as a person growing up all over the world. It was this need for an identity that prompted her to coin the term 'Afropolitans'. "I felt like a product of my parent's culture but also something else. So I was trying to get at that 'something else'. I'm not an American or Afro-American. So what am I? I have to be
." She thinks that the term 'Afropolitan' can be used for literature too: "Everything that celebrates its African-ness but doesn't feel obliged to subscribe to the tropes."