A few hours ago the Guardian UK published an article by Nigerian award winning writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie where she shared the heartfelt story of her struggle with depression.
In classic Adichie style, the writer talks about her symptoms, the effect of her depression on her family and friends, and how the condition is often a writer’s scourge.
The article was taken down from the Guardian UK website.
Initially, the Guardian stated that the removal was due to a technical error.
Now, they have updated their site with the following message.
This article was deleted on 1 February 2015 because it was launched in error, without the permission of the author following a technical error. The Guardian apologises unreservedly to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Therefore, we have decided to remove the excerpts.
Chimamanda’s Management have released the following statement on why the article was removed. Contrary to speculation, it is not because the author wants to “hide” her depression experience rather it was due to a misunderstanding with the Guardian UK Newspaper.
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.
BN encourages anyone going through depression to consult a doctor immediately. Depression is an illness. With proper care and therapy, it can be managed and treated.