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ES: You've said in other interviews that fiction allows us to "sit for a while with people we would rather not meet." What do you mean by that?

UA: I mean it is difficult for us to want to spend time with people in extreme situations. For example, would you like to spend a night with Maisha and her family? Would you like to sniff the glue with them to kill the hunger in your stomach? I think it is much easier to want to give them money or food from a safe distance. It is not even about this happening in some "exotic place". I mean how many of us would like to share a hamburger with the poor people who sleep in the streets of America? I mean, if they dipped into their dirty pockets and offered you sandwich, would you take it? Many of us would not even share the same side of the road with them.

What is Akpan's favorite book?

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