Yesterday, UK Guardian published an article written by award-winning writer Chimamanda Adichie about her struggles with depression which. The Guardian later took the article down explaining that it was published in error. Thing is, they didn't have permission from Ms Adichie to publish the article. Out of courtesy, I also took the post down. But there's been some confusion over why the article was taken down from the Guardian. Chimamanda's manager explains below...
"When a writer of Chimamanda Adichie's status writes an essay, many publications are interested in publishing it. Her agent sends the essay to a few publications. The publications indicate their interest and make various offers and proposals including how they will feature it and what they would like to accompany it (e.g. a photo shoot, an additional interview), how much they will pay for it, when they will publish it and in what section of the publication. Chimamanda then makes a decision about which publication she prefers
Chimamanda wrote the essay about depression last year. Depression is a very important subject for her. She wanted to make sure the essay was very honest. She wanted to use the essay as a way to help people, to start a conversation about depression, particularly among Africans. Many people suffer in silence. Breaking the silence around the subject of depression can be the first step to getting better.
Many magazines and publications were interested in the essay. One of them was the Guardian. Chimamanda considered their offer and then decided she didn't want it to be published there. She felt that the Guardian was not the right place for the essay. She declined their offer, and they acknowledged in writing that she had declined.
She planned to publish the essay later this year, when she would have finished other engagements, to give her time to deliver a talk in Nigeria about depression.
She had still not finally decided which publication she would go with when she discovered on Sunday that the essay had been published in the Guardian, with no notice, no permission, nothing. She was shocked.
The Guardian claims it was a technical error. It is not clear how something could have been published, with photographs, due to a technical error. It is possible that The Guardian deliberately published it even though they had been turned down. That way, The Guardian could claim to have been first to publish Africa's most-internationally recognized novelist writing for the first time on the very personal subject of depression. The Guardian's action was unethical and possibly illegal. The Guardian has apologized and removed the essay.
The essay will be republished properly later this year. Chimamanda thanks all the people who have already shared their own stories of depression. She hopes that knowing you are not alone will be a source of comfort. She will speak more on the subject in the coming months.