My ‘Americanah’ Story

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  My favorite Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is in New York to promote her latest novel, Americanah, which just came out in paperback. Last night she spoke to a packed house at the Tenement Museum (www.tenement.org), today she’ll be a guest on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC and next week she’ll be at the Schomburg in Harlem. That …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy ‘Americanah’ Story

“The Secret of a Long Marriage is Learning to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ first.”

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Mum had one brother, E, who was 13 years older than her. He married young and she married later in life and the result is that Uncle E’s 5 children, our cousins, (including a pair of identical twin boys, who’re now men), are practically a generation older than me and my siblings. Thus it is that G @ 71 – …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“The Secret of a Long Marriage is Learning to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ first.”

The BBC Loses One of its Finest

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Komla Dumor, a Ghanaian broadcaster with the BBC World Service and host of ‘Focus on Africa’ is gone. He died yesterday of an apparent heart attack at the age of 41, leaving a wife, 3 young children, and scores of fans spread across Africa and beyond in shock and disbelief. I am one of those who are reeling. He was …

Pamela Brown-PetersideThe BBC Loses One of its Finest

New Birth, New Life

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This week I had the privilege of visiting a leader of one of our community groups who’s become a friend. In the last several months, she’s taken a hiatus from her group because she’s become the mother of a sweet little girl called Hannah! Hannah is a miracle birth.  Her parents married later in life and had been trying for …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNew Birth, New Life

Transitions

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As a new year begins, I’ve been reflecting on losses I experienced in 2013. Since I’m getting older – this will be my year of Jubilee, where I celebrate a half-century of life (gulp!) – thoughts of one’s mortality and that of others feature more prominently…. Almost a year ago today, a well-loved, justice-minded, 50-something physician, Brian, went for a …

Pamela Brown-PetersideTransitions

Mandela’s Long Walk

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Tomorrow, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the Weinstein’s film based on Nelson Mandela’s authorized autobiography opens. For the first time, I along with a few hundred others – including a handful of Redeemer leaders – had the opportunity to attend the film’s premiere on Monday night. Among those who made an appearance on the stage before the start of the …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMandela’s Long Walk

Friendship with Alicia

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In a church with an average age of 33, it’s rare to attend a memorial service for someone who was her early 30s. Yet I recently found myself in the sanctuary of 150 W83rd – I’m yet to attend a wedding there – remembering Alicia, along with her friends and family. Less than a year ago, doctors discovered a cancerous …

Pamela Brown-PetersideFriendship with Alicia

Whose Story?

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Last night I attended a discussion at the Schomburg, a research library in Harlem that’s part of the NY Public Library. My favorite Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was headlining the panel along with Siddharta Deb (Indian cultural critic). Romain Bertrand (French historian), and Farah Griffin (African-American historian @ Columbia.) The event was facilitated by the not-so-new Director of the …

Pamela Brown-PetersideWhose Story?

Nigerpolitans

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Last week my brother Ian was visiting with a childhood friend of his who now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. That gave us a reason to connect with several other friends of Ian’s. We met at Buka, a popular Nigerian restaurant in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn. Ian has known J, an architect based in Red Hook, since they were toddlers (40 years!).   J …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNigerpolitans

Two Faces of Tragedy in the City

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Yesterday I saw something here in New York, I’ve never seen before, in 20+ years of living here. It was about 11am and I was approaching the northeast corner of 35th and 7th. As I crossed the street, I caught a glimpse of a person crouching in an awkward position in the shadow of a public phone booth. Looking closer, …

Pamela Brown-PetersideTwo Faces of Tragedy in the City

A Man of the People

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I learned this morning that Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian writer, had died at the age of 82 and I wept. I never met him and only briefly heard him speak when he was honored in New York, on the 50th anniversary of his best known and widely published novel, THINGS FALL APART. What I recall so vividly from that evening …

Pamela Brown-PetersideA Man of the People

A Pitch Conference: What a Concept!

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Two weeks ago today (on President’s Day), I was heading back from a weekend trip to Boston on an Amtrak train. As the sky turned into a variety of pinks and purples while the sun dipped into the west, I decided to google “new york writers conferences”. I was feeling the need to attend a conference but didn’t want to …

Pamela Brown-PetersideA Pitch Conference: What a Concept!

“I don’t do….”

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I was coming home on the train after a long delay sitting in a tunnel. Exhausted and not paying attention to much, I found myself sitting close to a large woman in pink sweats who seemed even more tired than I was.  She was asleep or trying to sleep and every now and then as she began to slide into …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“I don’t do….”

Urban Snobbery

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I think I’m becoming an urban snob. Or better yet, I’ve become one. This past weekend I visited dear friends who live in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. I hadn’t been for some time but I can’t say I’d missed the large spacious homes, the highways choked with traffic, the strip malls and the huge stores. On Saturday afternoon, …

Pamela Brown-PetersideUrban Snobbery