The danger of the single story – Chimimanda Adichie

Introduced by Sekneh Hammound-Beckett


In this talk, Chimimanda Adichie, a Nigerian author, weaves a narrative around the danger of the single story. She articulates this ‘danger’ through her own personal experiences, and eloquently delights the audience with humour about the power of stories to both malign and repair. Moreover, Chimimanda exposes the hazards of power in stories, expressing that power is not just the ability to tell a story about another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person, and she describes how some stories are allowed to have more space to exist than others. This is a common symptom in my work. People are often referred to me with a prescription of a single story – a diagnosis. In fact, I believe there are many parallels between this talk and our work as narrative practitioners. We too are intrigued by the power of stories and invite a performance of meanings in relation to the multi-storied accounts of people’s identities. If we hold a single story in our therapeutic and community work, I believe we run the risk of having disordered views of the wonderful and resourceful people we meet! As Chimimanda states: stories matter, many stories matter. This pertinent message continues to inspire me to co-author chapters, volumes, encyclopedias of people’s knowledges skills and wisdoms.

Sekneh Hammoud-Beckett is a narrative therapist coloured by her Lebanese Muslim ancestry. Sekneh is passionate about the therapeutic work she engages in with young people of diverse cultures, religions, genders, sexes, and sexualities in Sydney and is passionate about moving beyond the single story of gender prescriptions!

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