Chigozie Obioma

Chigozie Obioma

Everything We Do is Preordained

Award-winning Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma calls his debut novel ‘The Fishermen’ “an Igbo version of a tragedy.” Meet the author and hear about his modern day metaphor of “the paradox that is Nigeria.”

In this interview Chigozie Obioma talks about his best-selling debut novel, a mythic story about four brothers set in 1990s Nigeria. After skipping school the boys encounter a vision-seeing madman whose prophecy of violence follows them through their lives, deeply impacting their family in tragic, yet redemptive ways. “The heart of the novel,” says the author “is in fact the love between those brothers.” But the book should also be read as a metaphor for Nigeria, a civilisation that is challenged from the inside as well as the outside.

The Fishermen deals with the primal question of whether or not we are in control of our own lives. The supernatural plays an important role in the imaginary of the Nigerian Igbo tribe, as it does in The Fishermen. The worlds of the living and the dead are seamlessly connected and “everything we do is preordained, there are no coincidences,” Obioma explains. “Our actions are controlled by supernatural forces that are beyond the realm of what we can be privy to.” The novel is part Greek tragedy, part Igbo tribe tale, shaped by Obioma’s upbringing in colonial West Africa that has made his work “a tragic form of fiction that is both European and African at the same time.”

Chigozie Obioma (b. 1986) is an award-winning Nigerian writer. His first novel,The Fishermen (2015) was listed s a 2015 New York Times Sunday Book Review Notable Book and was named a best book of the year for 2015 by the UK Observer, The Economist, The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal and the book has been translated into more than 20 languages.

Chigozie Obioma was interviewed by Michael Juul Holm at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in August 2016.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Yona Friedman

    Architecture of Trial and Error

    “Don't forget that very important cities today started by immigration.” Meet the 94-year-old architect behind 'L’Architecture Mobile', Yona Friedman. He here shares the story of how his years as a refugee sparked his desire to make architecture adaptable.

  • Nástio Mosquito

    'Mama Africa' is a Construct

    In this short interview Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito discusses his provocative video work, in which he through three blazing speeches addresses the legacy of the western logic of ownership and debt, not least regarding a construct like ‘Africa’.

  • Nástio Mosquito

    What are You Willing to Die for?

    Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito has been dubbed “the future star of the art world.” He here talks about his invigorating multidisciplinary practice, which investigates universally human characteristics in a teasing, polemic and humorous way.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • 11 Artists

    on Photography

    “We are so oversaturated with images, so it’s about one question: Can I hold you - can I get you to look at an image for longer than a second?” Watch Catherine Opie, Wim Wenders, Jeff Wall and 8 other artists on the power and potential of photography.

  • The Story of Marina Abramović & Ulay

    Legendary couple in performance art – Marina Abramović and Ulay – lived together for 12 years and made pioneering work as a duo. In this extraordinary double interview the artists look back on their relationship – from their first meeting in 1975 until now.

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Daniel Libeskind

    Tribute to New York

    “If you took the whole world and collapsed it into one little ball, you’d find it here, in this city.” Daniel Libeskind, world-renowned architect behind the new World Trade Center site, gives tribute to his city in this short and colourful video.

  • Marina Abramović

    Electricity Passing Through

    For more than 50 years trailblazing performance artist Marina Abramović has used her own body and energy as her main artistic material. In this powerful interview, the artist looks back on her radical practice: “It was like the first woman walking on the moon.”