Teju Cole Tweets 4,000-Word Essay

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Last week Teju Cole published a 4,000-word non-fiction essay on immigration, titled “A Piece of the Wall,” entirely on Twitter. BuzzFeed spoke with Cole about his decision to share the piece via the social media platform, the challenges in doing so, and his views on immigration reform:

I’m not getting my hopes up, but the point of writing about these things, and hoping they reach a big audience, has nothing to do with “innovation” or with “writing.” It’s about the hope that more and more people will have their conscience moved about the plight of other human beings. In the case of drones, for example, I think that all the writing and sorrow about it has led to a scaling back of operations: It continues, it’s still awful, but the rate has been scaled back, and this has been in specific response to public criticism. I continue to believe the emperor has a soul.


Marisa Siegel lives, writes, and edits near NYC. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her essay “Inherited Anger” appears in the anthology Burn It Down (Seal Press, 2019) and her debut poetry chapbook, Fixed Stars, is forthcoming from Burrow Press in April 2022. She is senior acquiring editor for trade at Northwestern University Press, and owner/publisher of The Rumpus. Follow her on Twitter at @marisasaystweet. More from this author →