Teju Cole

Literary Birthday – 27 June – Teju Cole

Happy Birthday, Teju Cole, born 27 June 1975.


  1. Writing as writing. Writing as rioting. Writing as righting. On the best days, all three.
  2. I deeply respect American sentimentality, the way one respects a wounded hippo. You must keep an eye on it, for you know it is deadly.
  3. We owe ourselves our lives.
  4. You know, the first move towards true equality is to have the person you’re addressing understand that you’re just as complex as they are, and that your stories are just as important as theirs are.
  5. I adore imaginary monsters, but I am terrified of real ones.
  6. Things don’t go away just because you choose to forget them.
  7. A novel insists that it is a work of fiction, and of course it is: full of invented situations and names and characters. But in a way, it is also profoundly non-fictional: it is a memoir of those inventions, it is a CAT-scan of the author’s brain, a State of the Union address on what your self mentally encountered during the period of writing.
  8. It is dangerous to live in a secure world.
  9. Perhaps this is what we mean by sanity: that, whatever our self-admitted eccentricities might be, we are not villains of our own stories.
  10. I read many kinds of things, but my deepest happiness is in reading poetry.

Teju Cole is a Nigerian-American writer, photographer, and art historian. He is the author of Open City and Every Day is for the Thief. Visit tejucole.com and follow him on Twitter: @tejucole

Source for Image: Author’s website credit: Stephanie Mitchell

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 27th June 2014

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