Birthday: September 15, 1977
Age: 44 Years, 44 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Virgo
Born in: Enugu, Nigeria
Famous as: Writer
Spouse/Ex-: Ivara Esege
father: James Nwoye Adichie
mother: Grace Ifeoma
education: Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, Harvard University
awards: 2007 - Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction - Half of a Yellow Sun
2008 - MacArthur Fellowship - Fiction
2014 - National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction - Americanah
2007 - Anisfield-Wolf Book Award - Half of a Yellow Sun
2007 - PEN/Open Book - Half of a Yellow Sun
Who is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie?
Chimamand Ngozi Adichi is a Nigerian born writer. She started writing at a young age and has gone on to be listed as one of the 100 Most Influential People by the Time Magazine. She is known to be a feminist and has given voice to the people of African origin living in America and other countries. Her short stories are explicit about the Nigerian Civil war and the plight of the people caught in the conflict. Her poems and short stories have been compiled into books that turned out to be best sellers. She has published four books that convey a strong message about the issues that she believes require to be addressed. She has also delivered a number a talks and interviews on television where she has expressed her views strongly. She has been conferred with a number of awards and honorary degrees from various universities. Today she is a well-known name in literary circles and has made a lasting impact on the minds of her readers. She is also active on social media and has a large following on Facebook.
Childhood & Early Life
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on 15 September 1977 in the city of Enugu in Nigeria into an Igbo family. She was brought up as the fifth sibling out of six children of her parents in the town of Nsukka. Her father, James Nwoye Adichie, was a professor of statistics in the University of Nigeria, located in Nsukka. Later he became the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the university. Her mother, Grace Ifeoma, was the first female registrar of the university.
She completed her secondary education at the University’s school, where she excelled in academics and won a number of prizes. On completion of her schooling, she initially joined the University of Nigeria to study medicine and pharmacy. Her writing skills came to light when she edited the university magazine called ‘Compass’. She left Nigeria at the age of 19 and went on to study communications and political science at Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA.
She subsequently got transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to be closer to her sister and completed her bachelor’s degree with the distinction of summa cum laude in 2001. During her days in the university she wrote a number of articles in the university’s journal, ‘Campus Lantern’.
She furthered her academic career with a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University in 2003 and Master of Arts degree in African Studies from Yale University in 2008.
During her studies at Yale University, she was a fellow at Princeton University for the academic year 2005-06. In 2008, she was conferred with the MacArthur Fellowship and in 2011-12 she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Her academic achievements include an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters conferred upon her by Johns Hopkins University as well as Haverford College.
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Chimamanda was 20 years old when she published her collection of poems titled ‘Decisions’ in 1997. The following year she wrote a play called ‘For Love of Biafra’ on the Nigerian Civil War. Her initial success was confirmed when she was shortlisted for the ‘Caine Prize’ for African writing for her short story, ‘You in America’.
The response from her short story prompted her to write ‘That Harmattan Morning’ in the same format that was selected as a joint winner for the BBC Short Story Awards. Yet again ‘The American Embassy’ got her the O Henry Prize and the David T Wong International Short Story Prize for 2002-03.
Her debut novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ was published in 2003 and won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. Her next book was about the Nigerian Civil War and named ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ after the flag of the short lived nation, Biafra. The book has been adapted into a motion picture with the same name directed by Biyi Bandele that won the BAFTA award.
Her third novel titled ‘Americanah’ was selected by the New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013. The story is about a young Nigerian encountering racism in America. She also released a compilation of 12 short stories titled ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ that was listed among the Best American Short Stories of 2011. Her latest book, ‘Dear Ijeawele’ hit the stands in 2017 and received positive reviews.
She has been listed among one of the best writers under 40 years of age and has been elected into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which is one of the highest honours for intellectuals in the US.
Adichie has delivered a number of lectures including her talk on TED that became one of the most viewed interviews of all time. She delivered the 2012 Commonwealth Lecture on ‘Connecting Cultures’ and a talk on being feminist that was published as a book and inspired the song ‘Flawless’ by the American performer, Beyonce.
Adichie started her career with short stories and went on to write some of the most widely read books that include ‘Purple Hibiscus’ (2003), ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ (2006), ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ (2009) and ‘Americanah’ (2013).
Her short stories ‘You in America’, ‘That Harmattan Morning’ and ‘The American Embassy’ revolve around the lives of Africans living abroad and the discrimination thy face.
Awards & Achievements
Besides a number of listings, she has won numerous awards for her literary work. Just to mention a few, she won the ‘O Henry Prize’ for the short story ‘The American Embassy’ in 2003, the ‘Commonwealth Writers’ Prize : Best First Book’ for her novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ in 2005, Reader’s Digest ‘Author of the Year’ in 2008 and the ‘National Book Critics Circle Award : Fiction Category’ for her book ‘Americanah’.
She has the distinction of having her books listed among the ‘Ten Best Books’ by New York Times and BBC. She has also been listed by the Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in 2015.
Personal Life & Legacy
Adichie splits her time between her birthplace, Nigeria, and the USA, where she works. She is married to a Maryland based doctor and has a daughter.
In order to give back to her country, she conducts writing workshops whenever she visits Nigeria.
Her ancestral home is in Abba in Anambra state of Nigeria.
She lived in the house once occupied by the renowned Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe, and was greatly influenced by his masterpiece, ‘Things Fall Apart’, which she read at the age of 10.
Adichie considers herself a storyteller, but does not mind being referred to as a feminist writer. Her world view is feminist and she believes that the subject requires to be addressed.
Her famous talk on ‘Dangers of a Single Story’ expresses her concern about the underrepresentation of various cultures that give a skewed view of a race due to ignorance of others.
She is a supporter of LGBTQ rights and has campaigned for them in Nigeria. She once came into controversy about her views on trans-genders but later went to great length to clarify her stand.