Imbolo Mbue

Interview

#87: A Sneak Peek at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with Imbolo Mbue, by Celia Johnson

Most people come to New York City clutching their dreams. Some fight to get in and fight even harder to stay. Others have a much easier path. But what happens when the city fails them? Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, follows a young Cameroonian couple, Jendi and Neni, who are in New York because they want a better life for themselves and, even more so, for their six-year-old son. Jendi has been working as a chauffeur for Clark, an executive at Lehman Brothers, and his high-society wife, Cindy. And Neni has been toiling away at school, hoping one day to become a pharmacist. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is about to threaten everything these four people have strived to attain. I spoke to Imbolo about her inimitable characters, her creative process, and how rejections helped her improve her manuscript.

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