|Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie|
Adichie, Fairfax, 2013
|Born||15 September 1977
Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria
|Occupation||Novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer|
|Period||2003 — present|
|Notable works||Purple Hibiscus
Half of a Yellow Sun
|Notable awards||MacArthur Fellowship (2008)|
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (/ˌtʃɪmɑːˈmɑːndə əŋˈɡoʊzi əˈdiːtʃeɪ/ ( listen);[note 1] born 15 September 1977) is a Nigerian writer of novels, short stories, and nonfiction. In 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant. She was described in the Times Literary Supplement as “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [who] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”.
Personal life and education
Adichie, who was born in the city of Enugu in Nigeria, grew up the fifth of six children in an Igbo family in the university town of Nsukka in Enugu State. While she was growing up, her father, James Nwoye Adichie, was a professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria, and her mother, Grace Ifeoma, was the university’s first female registrar. Her family’s ancestral village is in Abba in Anambra State.
Adichie studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. During this period, she edited The Compass, a magazine run by the university’s Catholic medical students. At the age of 19, Adichie left Nigeria for the United States to study communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She soon transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to be near her sister Uche, who had a medical practice in Coventry. She received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern, with the distinction of summa cum laude in 2001.
Adichie was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005–06 academic year. In 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She was also awarded a 2011–12 fellowship by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.
Adichie divides her time between Nigeria, where she teaches writing workshops, and the United States. In 2016 she was conferred an honorary degree – Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, by Johns Hopkins University. In 2017 she was conferred honorary degrees – Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, by Haverford College, and The University of Edinburgh.
Adichie published a collection of poems in 1997 (Decisions) and a play (For Love of Biafra) in 1998. She was shortlisted in 2002 for the Caine Prize for her short story “You in America”, and her story “That Harmattan Morning” was selected as a joint winner of the 2002 BBC World Service Short Story Awards. In 2003, she won the O. Henry Award for “The American Embassy”, and the David T. Wong International Short Story Prize 2002/2003 (PEN Center Award). Her stories were also published in Zoetrope: All-Story, and Topic Magazine.
Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), received wide critical acclaim; it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction (2004) and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (2005).
Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), named after the flag of the shortlived nation of Biafra, is set before and during the Nigerian Civil War. It received the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. Half of a Yellow Sun has been adapted into a film of the same title directed by Biyi Bandele, starring BAFTA award-winner and Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor and BAFTA winner Thandie Newton, and was released in 2014.
Adichie’s third book, The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), is a collection of 12 stories that explore the relationships between men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.
In 2015, she was co-curator of the PEN World Voices Festival.
In a 2014 interview, Adichie said on feminism and writing, “I think of myself as a storyteller, but I would not mind at all if someone were to think of me as a feminist writer… I’m very feminist in the way I look at the world, and that world view must somehow be part of my work.”
In March 2017, Americanah was picked as the winner for the “One Book, One New York” program, part of a community reading initiative encouraging all city residents to read the same book.
In April 2017, it was announced that Adichie had been elected into the 237th class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the highest honours for intellectuals in the United States, as one of 228 new members to be inducted on 7 October 2017.
Her most recent book was published in March 2017 entitled Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.
Adichie spoke on “The Danger of a Single Story” for TED in 2009. Since her interview on TED Talks, it has become one of the top ten most-viewed TED Talks of all time, with over five millions views. On 15 March 2012, she delivered the “Connecting Cultures” Commonwealth Lecture 2012 at the Guildhall, London. Adichie also spoke on being a feminist for TEDxEuston in December 2012, with her speech entitled, “We should all be feminists”. It initiated a worldwide conversation on feminism, was published as book in 2014, and inspired a song by Beyonce. This speech was sampled for the 2013 song “***Flawless” by American performer Beyoncé, where it attracted further attention.
“The Danger of a Single Story” TED talk
Adichie spoke in a TED talk entitled “The Danger of a Single Story”, posted in October 2009. In it, she expresses her concern for underrepresentation of various cultures. She explains that, as a young child, she had often read American and British stories where the characters were primarily of Caucasian origin.
At the lecture, she said that the underrepresentation of cultural differences could be dangerous: “Now, I loved those American and British books I read. They stirred my imagination. They opened up new worlds for me. But the unintended consequence was that I did not know that people like me could exist in literature.”
Throughout the lecture, she used personal anecdotes to illustrate the importance of sharing different stories. She briefly talks about the houseboy that was working for her family whose name is Fide, and how the only thing she knew about him was how poor his family was. However, when Adichie’s family visited Fide’s village, Fide’s mother showed them a basket that Fide’s brother had made, making her realize that she created her opinion about Fide based on only one story of him. Adichie said, “It had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could actually make something. All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them.” She also said that when leaving Nigeria to go to Drexel University, she encountered the effects of the underrepresentation of her own culture. Her American roommate was surprised that Adichie was fluent in English and that she did not listen to tribal music. She said of this: “My roommate had a single story of Africa: a single story of catastrophe. In this single story, there was no possibility of Africans being similar to her in any way, no possibility of feelings more complex than pity, no possibility of a connection as human equals.”
Adichie concluded the lecture by noting the significance of different stories in various cultures and the representation that they deserve. She advocated for a greater understanding of stories because people are complex, saying that by only understanding a single story, one misinterprets people, their backgrounds, and their histories.
“We should all be feminists” TEDx talk, and “Flawless” song verse
In 2012, Adichie delivered a TEDx talk entitled: “We should all be feminists.” She shared her experiences of being an African feminist, and her views on gender construction and sexuality. Adichie said that the problem with gender is that it shapes who we are. She also said, “I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change, but in addition to being angry, I’m also hopeful because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to make and remake themselves for the better.”
Harper-Collins published an essay based on the speech as a standalone volume, We Should All Be Feminists in 2014. She later said in an NPR interview that “anything that gets young people talking about feminism is a very good thing.” She later qualified the statement in an interview with the Dutch magazine, De Volkskrant: “Another thing I hated was that I read everywhere: now people finally know her, thanks to Beyoncé, or: she must be very grateful. I found that disappointing. I thought: I am a writer and I have been for some time and I refuse to perform in this charade that is now apparently expected of me: ‘Thanks to Beyoncé, my life will never be the same again.’ That’s why I didn’t speak about it much.”
Adichie has clarified that her particular feminism differs from Beyoncé’s, particularly in their disagreements about the role occupied by men in women’s lives, saying that “Her style is not my style, but I do find it interesting that she takes a stand in political and social issues, since a few years. She portrays a woman who is in charge of her own destiny, who does her own thing, and she has girl power. I am very taken with that.” Nevertheless, she has been outspoken against critics who question the singer’s credentials as a feminist and said that “Whoever says they’re feminist is bloody feminist.”
Awards and nominations
|2002||Caine Prize for African Writing||“You in America”||Nominated[A]|
|Commonwealth Short Story Competition||“The Tree in Grandma’s Garden”||Nominated[B]|
|BBCmeasuring Competition||“That Harmattan Morning”||Won[C]|
|2002/2003||David T. Wong International Short Story Prize (PEN American Center Award)||“Half of a Yellow Sun||Won|
|2003||O. Henry Prize||“The American Embassy”||Won|
|2004||Hurston-Wright Legacy Award: Best Debut Fiction Category||Purple Hibiscus||Won|
|Young Adult Library Services Association Best Books for Young Adults Award||Nominated|
|2004/2005||John Llewellyn Rhys Prize||Nominated[A]|
|2005||Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Best First Book (Africa)||Won|
|Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Best First Book (overall)||Won|
|2006||National Book Critics Circle Award||Half of a Yellow Sun||Nominated|
|2007||British Book Awards: “Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year” category||Nominated|
|James Tait Black Memorial Prize||Nominated|
|Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Best Book (Africa)||Nominated[A]|
|Anisfield-Wolf Book Award: Fiction category||Won[C]|
|PEN Beyond Margins Award||Won[C]|
|Orange Broadband Prize: Fiction category||Won|
|2008||International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award||Herself||Nominated|
|Reader’s Digest Author of the Year Award||Won|
|Future Award, Nigeria: Young Person of the Year category||Won|
|MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant||Won|
|2009||International Nonino Prize||Won|
|Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award||The Thing Around Your Neck||Nominated[D]|
|John Llewellyn Rhys Prize||Nominated[A]|
|2010||Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Best Book (Africa)||Nominated[A]|
|Dayton Literary Peace Prize||Nominated[B]|
|2011||ThisDay Awards: “New Champions for an Enduring Culture” category||Herself||Nominated|
|2013||Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize: Fiction category||Americanah||Won|
|National Book Critics Circle Award: Fiction category||Won|
|2014||Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction||Nominated[A]|
|Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction||Nominated[A]|
|MTV Africa Music Awards 2014: Personality of the Year||Herself||Nominated|
|2015||International Dublin Literary Award||Americanah||Nominated[A]|
- 2010 Listed among The New Yorker′s “20 Under 40”
- 2013 Listed among The New York Times′ “Ten Best Books of 2013”, for Americanah
- 2013 Listed among BBC’s “Top Ten Books of 2013”, for Americanah
- 2013 Foreign Policy magazine “Top Global Thinkers of 2013”
- 2013 Listed among the New African′s “100 Most Influential Africans 2013”
- 2014 Listed among Africa39 project of 39 writers aged under 40
- 2015 Listed among Time Magazine‘s “The 100 Most Influential People”
- Purple Hibiscus. 2003.
- Half of a Yellow Sun, 2006, ISBN 978-0-00-720028-3
- The Thing Around Your Neck, 2009, ISBN 978-0-307-37523-0
- Americanah, 2013, ISBN 978-0-307-96212-6
Essays published in book format
- We Should All Be Feminists, 2014, ISBN 978-0008115272
- Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, 2017 ISBN 978-1524733131
|“Checking out”||2013||“Checking out”. The New Yorker. 89 (5): 66–73. 18 March 2013.|
|“Apollo”||2015||“Apollo”. The New Yorker. 91 (8): 64–69. 13 April 2015.|
|“‘The Arrangements’: A Work of Fiction”||2016||“‘The Arrangements’: A Work of Short Fiction”. The New York Times Book Review. 3 July 2016.|
- Nigerian female novelists
- Buchi Emecheta
- Flora Nwapa
- Karen King-Aribisala
- Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
- Taiwo Odubiyi
- Ifeoma Okoye
- Lola Shoneyin
- Taiye Selasi
- Adaora Lily Ulasi
- Chidera Okolie
- Brockes, Emma (4 March 2017). “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘Can people please stop telling me feminism is hot?'”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie”. Front Row. 3 May 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- Nixon, Rob (1 October 2006). “A Biafran Story”. The New York Times. Retrieved 25 January 2009.
- James Copnall, “Steak Knife”, The Times Literary Supplement, 16 December 2011, p. 20.
- Anya, Ikechuku (15 October 2005). “In the Footsteps of Achebe: Enter Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie”. African Writer.
- “Feminism Is Fashionable For Nigerian Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie”. NPR, 18 March 2014.
- “Biography”, The Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie website.
- “Why Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Considers Her Sister a ‘Firm Cushion’ at Her Back”, Vanity Fair, May 2016.
- “Alumni Profiles – Adichie | Alumni Affairs | Eastern Connecticut State University”. www.easternct.edu. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- Leonard Okachie (19 May 2011). “In the News | Chimamanda Selected as Radcliffe Fellow”. National Mirror. Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- “The Women of Hopkins”. The Women of Hopkins. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- “Recent Alumni”. african.macmillan.yale.edu. Yale Council on African Studies. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- “Class of 2008 – MacArthur Foundation”. www.macfound.org. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
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- “Eight to receive Johns Hopkins honorary degrees at commencement ceremony”, HUB, Johns Hopkins University, 22 April 2016.
- “You can now call her Dr Adichie”, This Is Africa, 19 May 2016.
- “Commencement 2017 Honorary Degrees”, Haverford College, 15 May 2017.
- “Acclaimed author receives honorary degree”, The University of Edinburgh, 28 July 2017.
- Chutel, Lynsey (3 July 2016). “Award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has had a baby, not that it’s anyone’s business”. Quartz. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- “The Caine Prize for African Writing”. Caineprize.com. Archived from the original on 12 August 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- “Previously shortlisted”, The Caine Prize.
- “You in America”, in Discovering Home: A selection of writings from the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing, Jacana, 2003, pp. 27–34.
- “You in America”, Kwanini? Series, 2006.
- “Short Story Competition 2002”, BBC World Service.
- “Awards & Nominations”, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie website; PEN.org “Half of a Yellow Sun”, full story
- “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie” in Zoetrope.
- “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Home is Where the Heart Was”, Topic Magazine, Issue 3, Winter 2003.
- “BAILEYS Women’s Prize for Fiction » 2004”. www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
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- “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Half of a Yellow Sun”, Winners, Thew 82nd Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.
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- Wolfe, Alexandra (1 May 2015). “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the World of African Literature”. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Hobson, Janell (2014). “Storyteller”. Ms. (Summer): 26–29.
- Chris Weller, “New Yorkers just selected a book for the entire city to read in America’s biggest book club”, Business Insider, 16 March 2017.
- “One Book, One New York | And the winner is…”, NYC.
- John Williams, “One Book for Five Boroughs”, The New York Times, 31 January 2017.
- “American Academy of Arts and Sciences Elects 228 National and International Scholars, Artists, Philanthropists, and Business Leaders”, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
- “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been elected into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences”. Ventures Africa. 15 April 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
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- Commonwealth Lecture 2012: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Reading realist literature is to search for humanity” Archived 28 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Commonwealth Foundation
- “We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston”. YouTube. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. “Transcript of “The danger of a single story””. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- TED (2009-10-07), The danger of a single story | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, retrieved 4 October 2016
- “TED | We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston (transcript)”. Vialogue.
- Miles Raymer, “‘Billboard’ Hot 100 recap: Beyonce’s ‘Flawless’ finally hits the chart”, Entertainment Weekly, 4 September 2014.
- “Ngozi Adichie: Beyoncé’s Feminism Isn’t My Feminism”.
- Britni Danielle, “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Defends Beyoncé: ‘whoever Says They’re Feminist is Bloody Feminist'”, Clutch, 20 March 2014.
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- Mark Brown (7 April 2014). “Donna Tartt heads Baileys women’s prize for fiction 2014 shortlist”. The Guardian. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
- Hillel Italie (30 June 2014). “Tartt, Goodwin awarded Carnegie medals”. Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
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- Ernest N. Emenyonu (ed.), A Companion to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, James Currey/Boydell and Brewer, 2017, ISBN 978-1847011633
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.|
- Official website
- Unofficial website via Daria Tunca, English Department, University of Liège
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TED
- Messud, Claire, ed. (1 February 2010). “Quality Street”. Guernica Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 March 2010.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (15 January 2012). “Why Are You Here?”. Guernica Magazine.
- Anya, Ikechuku (15 October 2005). “In the Footsteps of Achebe: Enter Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie”. African Writer.
- Ezard, John (27 April 2004). “Debut novel from Nigeria storms Orange shortlist”. The Guardian.
- Murray, Senan (8 June 2007). “The new face of Nigerian literature?”. BBC News.
- “Michio Kaku, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Angela Hobbs” (Audio). The Forum. BBC World Service. 13 April 2008.
- on YouTube