chapter  13
13 Pages

Teju Cole’s small fates: producing leisure space and leisure time on Twitter


Cole retrieves the fait divers as a modernist literary form à la Fénéon from obsolescence and obscurity, translating it from the French cultural context into a Nigerian one, and transforming it for the digital medium of Twitter. To denote the process of metamorphosis, Cole called them small fates as opposed to fait divers, partly because he appreciated the near-rhyme of fates and fait, though they are fundamentally unrelated. For example, from Cole’s (2013) collection of 45 small fates for The New Inquiry:

Children are a gift from God. In the returns department: a baby girl, left by the side of Effiom Ekpo Street in Calabar.