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HomenewsinternationalChimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Her Journey To Becoming Africa's Most Sought-After Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Her Journey To Becoming Africa’s Most Sought-After Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born on 15 September 1977) is one of the most sought after African authors. The Nigerian-born author is known for writing interesting stories that resonate with people’s societal experience. She drew a lot of inspiration from the late Chinua Achebe. His novels made her realize that a person like her could be a character in a story.

Today, the award winning novelist has spoken in various forums and directly critiqued the West about their views of Africans. 

Here is her story as told by WoK.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Education And Background

She was born in Enugu, Nigeria in September 1977 as the first born of six children. Her father was a professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria while her mother served as the university’s first female registrar. They lost nearly everything during the civil war in Nigeria including her maternal and paternal grandfathers. 

After graduating from the University of Nigeria Secondary school, she enrolled at the University of Nigeria to pursue medicine and pharmacy. During this time, she served as the editor for the university magazine called The Compass. 

Aged 19, she moved to the United States and pursued communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Because she wanted to be close to her sister who had a medical practice in Coventry, Connecticut, Chimamanda transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University. Here, she graduated summa cum laude in 2001.

Two years later, she completed a Masters degree in creative writing at John Hopkins University. This was followed by a Master of Arts degree in African Studied from Yale University. 

The writer has over 10 honorary doctorates from different international universities including: Yale University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Edinburgh and Georgetown University. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Career

In 1996, she published a collection of Poems called Decisions. The following year, she published a play titled For the Love of Biafra. 

In 2003, she published the Novel Purple Hibiscus and it went on to win the 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book. 

In 2006, her second book Half of a Yellow Sun, was another masterpiece that received massive recognition. It was set before and during the civil war and in part honours her grandfather who died in a refugee camp.

It received the 2007 Orange Prize for fiction and the Anisfield-wolf book award. The novel was adapted into a film that was released in 2014. In 2020, it was voted the best book to have won the Women Prize for Fiction on its 25-year history. 

In 2008, she published a short story titled A Private Experience. The following year, she released a collection of 12 stories titled The Thing Around Your Neck.

In 2013, she released her third novel titled Americanah. It details the race issue in the US. She had not encountered being identified with the colour of her skin until she went to America.

The book was selected as One of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the New York Times. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award and in 2017 was picked as the winner of the One Book, One New York program. 

In March 2017, she published the book Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. The book traces its origins from a friend who had asked how she could raise her daughter as a feminist. 

 In 2020, she published a short story about single mother and sexism called Zikora. 

In May 2021, she released a memoir inspired by her father’s death called Notes on Grief.

 In April 2022, it was announced that she would release her debut children’s book titled Mama’s Sleeping Scarf in autumn 2023. The book is inspired by her daughter. 

The award winning author has also given various talks, with her most viewed being The Danger of a Single Story given on TED. She explained how growing up most novels were either British or American highlighting the danger of under-representing other cultures.

Her other talk We Should All be Feminists on TEDX was yet another powerful speech adopted into a book. It has reportedly sold over 700,000 copies in the United States. 

In 2013, part of her TEDX talk were sampled in Beyonce’s song Flawless. 

Awards and Recognitions

2003: David T Wong International Short Story Prize.

In 2010, she was listed among the authors of the New York 20 under 40 fiction issue 

In 2018, she received the PEN Printer Prize. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Personal Life

The talented novelist is married to a Nigerian doctor called Ivara Esege and the two had a daughter in 2016.

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