Lean Dunham’s “Books Under 100 Pages Book Club,” #KeepIt100LD, kicked off this September with a clear favorite of ours—Nnedi Okorafor’s novella Binti! Dunham took to Twitter for a chat with Okorafor about Binti’s influences, and her own favorite book that comes in at under 100 pages.
Read the whole conversation below!
@Nnedi: Hey. 😊
@lenadunham: You’re amazing! Wow! So since you’re our inaugural pick, I want to start by asking you about length: did you set out to write a tight, short book? You make writing a novella seem like the opposite of a short cut- it seems impossibly hard, in a good way :)
@Nnedi: Heh, thanks.
When I wrote Binti, I wasn’t writing to any length. I was just writing. When I finished, i had to google the length because I didn’t know what it was, lol.
I’ve always naturally written lean. I like to see what language can do. Plus, I don’t like fluff.
@lenadunham: Speaking of fluff, I always thought of sci fi as the provenance of fluffy old white men. When I read about Binti I was like “cool, but sci fi?” And yet it’s so emotional and intense and honest. What does this genre mean to you?
@Nnedi: The genre of science fiction is bigger and wider than people give it credit. Some scifi is fluffy old and white, but a lot of it (and more and more these days ) is a LOT of other things.
SF is about pushing, imagining futures, possibilities; it SHOULD be a lot of things.
@lenadunham: Binti is an amazing title character – a strong woman entering academia at a price. Is she based on anyone? 😉
@Nnedi: ok, so Binti is based largely on me.
at the time, i’d just accepted the position of a lifetime from the University at Buffalo. i come from an academically-gifted but insular family and they didn’t want me to go…but i went anyway.
writing Binti was me coping with all that…when things shift abruptly in the plot, that was me exploring the possibility of my family being right, that leaving was me making the worst mistake of my life. writing it made me have to work through that fear…also, i’d never written anything set in outer space. i wanted to try that, but on my terms.
@lenadunham: Oh amazing- a new contender. Thank you for being an amazing writer & a down-ass chick 🐣 📚 Honored 🌟
@Nnedi: Thanks for choosing and reading my book, Lena. Honored, as well! This was fun.🤗👽🤖🦋🦉🤗
Dunham wants to provide readers (particularly those in school) with short-but-powerful books, so that even the busiest among us can still engage with fiction. Be sure to follow the discussion over on Twitter at #keepit100LD!