Adichie Chimamanda

Chimamanda conversing with book lovers
Chimamanda talking to readers at Sweet Bai College, V.A. in 2018. Photo: Chimamanda Website

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Nigerian novelist who having won the Commonwealth Literature prize with, the Purple Hibiscus in 2003 and the Orange Prize with Half of a Yellow Sun in 2006, became a serious sensational writer. Adichie’s unique approach to details in her works, singles her out from the rest. Her first book went on to sell over 650,000 copies in England in the first few months of publication. It was translated into 30 languages globally. The New York Times described The Thing around your Neck, her collection of short stories published in 2009 as “a resounding confirmation of a prodigious literary powers of one of our most essential writers.[i] In 2013, the US Embassy sponsored a one-day workshop with award-winning writer, Chimamanda Adichie, hosted by the AWF in Abuja[ii].

Chimamanda,  native of Abba in Dunukofia Local government area of Anambra State, grew up in Nsukka, but was born in 1977 in Enugu. Her grandfather had died during the Biafran War, which formed the theme of her first novel.  Also, her parents lost everything they owned except for the car because her father fled in it just as Nsukka was being bombed. Chimamanda wrote a play about Biafra when she was 17 and it was published by Spectrum[iii].

Chimamanda studied Communication and Political Science at the Eastern Connecticut State University in 2001. Later in 2003, she obtained an M. A. at John Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. In 2008, she went to the Yale University where she studied for an M. A. in African Studies.

 

Novels

Chimamanda started to study Medicine at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, as the expectation for pupils who did well we all in secondary school was to become a medical doctor, regardless of personal interest. Chimamanda did not enjoy the course though she did well. After a year and a half, she decided to leave, opting for what she really wanted to do – the arts. She wanted to learn things that would help her writing. Consequently, she earned a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University in the United States. After many trials and rejections she finally got an agent who wanted to take on her work, Half of A Yellow Sun. Her debut, Purple Hibiscus, deals with a traumatized young girl who slowly but steadily discovers herself and finds her voice. Half of A Yellow Sun on the other hand explores the Biafra Civil War and the harrowing experience that attended the 30-month war.

Chimamanda’s Purple Hibiscus, as winner of 2005 Best First Book Prize in the African Region of Commonwealth Writers Prize. The novel, which made the final list of the 2004 Orange Prize for fiction, fetched the young writer £1,000[iv]. Her debut, Purple Hibiscus, deals with a traumatized young girl who slowly but steadily discovers herself and finds her voice. Half of A Yellow Sun on the other hand explores the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War and the harrowing experience that attended the 30-month war.

 
[i] Nation May 26, 2013

[ii] Punch July 30, 2013

[iii] Tell February 19, 2007

[iv] Tell February 21, 2005

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