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Nnedi Okorafor Calls On Nollywood To ‘Create Complex Female Characters’

Acclaimed Nigerian-American science fiction writer, Nnedi Okorafor has called on Nollywood creative stakeholders to write more complex female characters for films.

Okorafor, who is currently writing on ‘Dora Milaje’ warriors of the celebrated ‘Black Panther’, made the known via her twitter page @Nnedi on Tuesday.

She wrote, “Dear Nollywood, write/create more complex female characters.”

This statement sparked a conversation on the sustainability of Nollywood stories and the portrayal of women in most of these films.

@KelvinBagwell02 replied, “More of this please! Keep hammering on this till it sinks in. Tired of their embarrassingly stereotypical stories.”

@Elleade wrote, “I. Know. Right. It’s all divorces and infidelity and basically marriage stuff. Like that’s all women exist for.”

@LadyWriter7 replied, “That can happen fast if Nollywood looks into more book adaptations, books WITH complex female main characters. ‘Efuru’ for example.”

However, some Nigerians argued that most of the consumers of Nollywood movies are not ready for complex characters, hence the producers do not invest in such scripts.

@KingJamesNdu wrote, “Complex female lead roles in Nollywood? Sounds good only on paper. It’d be a marketing disaster.”

Some other replies gave instances of films with strong female characters, adding that the industry has already begun the gradual process of incorporating complex female characters.

@Abosiogba tweeted, “76 and Amina (ready for release this year) are both recent films with complex female characters.

“There’s also Isoken (2017) and The Arbitration (2016). Massive, well-received films centred around female characters. I believe we’re on it Doc.”

As the debate goes on, Okorafor reiterated her position by agreeing with a post that called for inclusion of more women in the movie production process.

The tweet by @MoldyWarp read, “Dear Nollywood, hire more female writers/directors/producers/actors, and tell more female-centred stories.”

Okorafor’s works are usually multi-layered stories centred around women and girls; drawing inspiration from her Nigerian roots.

Her first adult novel, ”Who Fears Death”, won the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.

It was a 2011 Tiptree Honor Book and was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award.

She also won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa

In July 2017, Okorafor announced via Twitter that ”Who Fears Death” was picked by HBO to become a TV series.

Novelist and ”Game of Thrones” producer, George R.R. Martin, is on the project as an executive producer.


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Nnedi Okorafor
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