FULL NAME: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
DATE OF BIRTH: 15 September 1977
OCCUPATION: Novelist, Poet
MARITAL STATUS: Married
Chimamanda is a popular Nigerian novelist, nonfiction writer and short story writer. A MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and more. She became popular after publishing one of novels “Purple Hibiscus” in 2003 she became much more popular after publishing another titled: “Half of a Yellow Sun” in 2006.
EARLY LIFE AND BACKGROUND
Adichie, who was born in the city of Enugu, grew up the fifth of six children in an Igbo family in the university town of Nsukka in southeastern Nigeria, where the University of Nigeria is situated. While she was growing up, her father James Nwoye Adichie was a professor of statistics at the university, 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 transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to be near her sister, who had a medical practice in Coventry. She received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern, with the distinction of summa cum laude in 2001.
In 2003, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, she received a Master of Arts degree in African studies from Yale University.
Adichie was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005–06 academic year. In 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also been 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 a honorary degree -Doctor of Humane letters,honouris causa. John hopkins university May 18th 2016
CAREER AND LIFE
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”.
In 2003, her story “That Harmattan Morning” was selected as a joint winner of the BBC Short Story Awards, and she won the O. Henry prize for “The American Embassy”. She also won the David T. Wong International Short Story Prize 2002/2003 (PEN Center Award).
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, named after the flag of the short-lived 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 winner and Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor and BAFTA award-winner Thandie Newton, and was released in 2014.
Her third book, The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), is a collection of short stories.
In 2010 she was listed among the authors of The New Yorker′s “20 Under 40” Fiction Issue.
Adichie’s story, “Ceiling”, was included in the 2011 edition of The Best American Short Stories.
Her third novel, Americanah (2013), was selected by the New York Times as one of The 10 Best Books of 2013.
In April 2014 she was named as one of 39 writers aged under 40. in the Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club project Africa39, celebrating Port Harcourt UNESCO World Book Capital 2014.
In 2015, she was co-curator of the PEN World Voices Festival.
Adichie says 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.”
Adichie spoke on “The Danger of a Single Story” for TED in 2009. 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”. This speech was sampled for the 2013 song “***Flawless” by American performer Beyoncé, where it attracted further attention.
“We should all be feminists” TEDx talk, and “Flawless” song verse Edit
“We should all be feminists” was a TEDx talk that was given by Adichie in 2013. She shared her experiences of being an African feminist, and her views on gender construction and sexuality. Adichie believes that the problem with gender is that it shapes who we are.
“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.”
Parts of Adichie’s talk were sampled in Beyoncé’s song “Flawless” in December 2013.
Speaking of the performance during an interview with NPR.org, Adichie commented that “anything that gets young people talking about feminism is a very good thing.” Responding to critiques of Beyoncé’s feminist credentials in another interview, Adichie asserted that “Whoever says they’re feminist is bloody feminist.”
AWARDS AND HONORS