I have heard you are nicknamed after your grandmother. Why?
Igbo people believe in reincarnation. When a baby boy is born after his grandfather’s death, they’ll say: “The old man came back.” It is a benign thing. My father’s mother was a fantastic woman – a feminist. She lost her husband young. His family wanted to take her land, but she went to the all-male meetings of her husband’s people. She barged in, made accusations and she got the community on her side.
You write brilliantly about love. What do you think makes a love last?
I wish I knew… if I did, I would market it. Lasting love has to be built on mutual regard and respect. It is about seeing the other person. I am very interested in relationships and, when I watch couples, sometimes I can sense a blindness has set in. They have stopped seeing each other. It is not easy to see another person.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘My new novel is about love, race… and hair’ Photograph: Richard Saker