Chimamanda’s Management have released the following statement on why the article was removed. Contrary to speculation, it is not because the author wants to “hide” her depression experience rather it was due to a misunderstanding with the Guardian UK Newspaper.
When a writer of Chimamanda Adichie’s status writes an essay, many publications are interested in publishing it. Her agent sends the essay to a few publications. The publications indicate their interest and make various offers and proposals including how they will feature it and what they would like to accompany it (e.g. a photo shoot, an additional interview), how much they will pay for it, when they will publish it and in what section of the publication. Chimamanda then makes a decision about which publication she prefers
Chimamanda wrote the essay about depression last year. Depression is a very important subject for her. She wanted to make sure the essay was very honest. She wanted to use the essay as a way to help people, to start a conversation about depression, particularly among Africans. Many people suffer in silence. Breaking the silence around the subject of depression can be the first step to getting better.
Many magazines and publications were interested in the essay. One of them was the Guardian. Chimamanda considered their offer and then decided she didn’t want it to be published there. She felt that the Guardian was not the right place for the essay. She declined their offer, and they acknowledged in writing that she had declined.
She planned to publish the essay later this year, when she would have finished other engagements, to give her time to deliver a talk in Nigeria about depression.
She had still not finally decided which publication she would go with when she discovered on Sunday that the essay had been published in the Guardian, with no notice, no permission, nothing. She was shocked.
The Guardian claims it was a technical error. It is not clear how something could have been published, with photographs, due to a technical error. It is possible that The Guardian deliberately published it even though they had been turned down. That way, The Guardian could claim to have been first to publish Africa’s most-internationally recognized novelist writing for the first time on the very personal subject of depression. The Guardian’s action was unethical and possibly illegal. The Guardian has apologized and removed the essay.
The essay will be republished properly later this year. Chimamanda thanks all the people who have already shared their own stories of depression. She hopes that knowing you are not alone will be a source of comfort. She will speak more on the subject in the coming months.
Like so many people around the world, I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s poignant piece on depression: ‘Mornings Are Dark, I Cry Often’….when The Guardian initially published it in ‘error’. Hmmmnnnn, my love, respect and admiration for Ms Adichie just went up several notches (if that’s even possible). Her article is such a beautiful, naked, enlightening and empowering piece for anyone dealing with darkness of depression.
Her response to the questionable act by The Guardian is very commendable. It is insightful and powerful that she directly and unequivocally called out The Guardian for their subterfuge, unethical and illegal conduct. It is important that we hold people (in this case the press) accountable and very refreshing to see this in this case.
For anyone dealing with depression, know that help is available (traditional medical resources, alternative health therapies, meditation, esoteric…) and grace also avails. One of the most powerful responses that resonated deeply with me regarding Ms Adichie’s piece was shared by acclaimed Motswana writer, Lauri Kubuitsile (Thoughts From Botswana Blog).
To paraphrase part of her response: “In all sorts of interactions with mental illness, each time I must remind myself to find compassion.” (Emphasis is mine). And I learnt from her that even when we do not fully understand things, we must choose to be empathetic and compassionate to the world around us. This is after all the crux of our shared and sacred humanity.
We at WWN are looking forward to Ms Adichie’s essay being properly re-published via her chosen channels. And also hearing her speak more on this critical, yet often hidden and misunderstood health condition affecting millions. Her honesty and artistry in depicting the journey with depression is sure to be a source of healing and light to millions of people around the world.
We’d also want to commend the awareness campaign by Canadian Telecoms giant BELL for their annual #BellLetsTalkMentalHealth program which seeks to engage stakeholders, citizens, government in an open, honest national conversation about mental health. With increasing cases of depression-related suicides, especially among young adults, we hope countries in Africa, such as Nigeria, Botswana, Swaziland…will join in this timely conversation.
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-Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, MBA
Poet | Master-Certified Leadership Coach-Trainer -Consultant|
~Take empowered ACTION towards a Healthier, Sexier, Wealthier YOU!~
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I like her management’s comment; makes a whole lot of sense. I was on Facebook yesterday [or was it day before yesterday] and made some comments when the writer, Petina Gappah, made a comment based on the book. She was cross that despite Guardian UK taking the article off their site, it was already swimming on the net via Nigerian news sites… But in the days of share without permission, what do we expect?
Perhaps it was wrong of those sites ethically but the piece is well written and yes, inspirational. Chimamanda is really inspiring.
I saw this [like the other posts you put up] and knew I had to comment. Well done on putting this up. Means much… and eh… I think you should put up a new individual post to carry your thoughts … that is repost your view of the management’s decision and her article in a separate post. It makes for a fine read and should not be shadowed by any other post – even if it is that of Chimamanda’s management… So speaking, can I please, copy what you wrote – your view- and blog it up? 🙂
All credits yours. Well done. I am proud of this site. You do well. Well done.
Su’eddie, thanks a lot for your insightful comment and for your feedback, I really appreciate it. I’ve done as you suggested, reposting my thoughts in a separate post. And with pleasure, please go ahead and share what I wrote. It’s an honour. I love your site too, thanks for all the heart and commitment you put into it. Still have to pick up my copy of the 2014 ANA literary journal, excited to have my work included. Congratulations again re your poetry prize, very well deserved. Keep on writing 🙂 -Juliet ‘Kego
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As long as work gives us the grace we will keep on writing 🙂
Thank you, Juliet. I noticed that I wrote in my first comment that Petina made a comment on the ‘book’ instead of ‘article’… My mistake.
I’m currently reading your new post, ‘Closing the integrity gap…’ Quite informative and yes, well written again. These are the kind of things we need to read more. We need to have people take stands and not sit on the fence of any issue.
I was talking of ethics the other time – of the Nigerian sites taking the article and putting it up – without knowing that the Guardian had been unethical in the first place sef! Chai! Hmmm… What goes around… Let’s hope it doesn’t all leave our dear Chimamanda depressed 🙂
Ah! I was reading your poems, Juliet, only yesterday, the two of them. I nearly sent you a mail on them but these days writing analysis and properly putting my thoughts on works that leave me smiling – especially poems with their taut beauty – can be overtly exhausting. But wow… they were really looooooong! How did you deceive us into accepting those two? Was it their beauty? 🙂
Thanks for all the congratulations…and you too, congratulations in advance… for every achievement that I know this year will bring for you. Let’s keep writing. There’s a whole lot to do.