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Chimamanda Adichie: Toeing The Line Of Literary Giants

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IMAGE: Chimamanda Adichie »

It is no surprise that many Nigerian youths who have discovered their God-given talent in the art of literary writings would want to go the extra mile to also have their names written in gold as other giants in field. The likes of Wole Soyinka, the late Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi and a host of other Nigerian giants have all contributed immensely to the growth and development of literature in Nigeria.

One of Nigeria’s youngsters who wants to make a lasting mark in the sands of time and carve a niche for herself in literary writings is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  Her crave for writing which saw her edit The Compass, a magazine run by the university’s Catholic medical students, while a young medical student at the Nigeria University, Nsukka.

Born in the town of Enugu, she grew up in the university town of Nsukka in southeastern Nigeria, where the University of Nigeria is situated. While she was growing up, her father was a professor of statistics at the university, and her mother was the university registrar, one can easily say she had the rightful foundation from her early years.

Adichie studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. At the age of 19, she left Nigeria and moved to the United States for college. After studying communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, she transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to live closer to her sister, who had a medical practice in Coventry. She received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern, where she graduated 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 in African studies from Yale University.

Adichie was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-2006 academic year. In 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also been awarded a 2011-2012 fellowship by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Her works include 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 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), for “Half of a Yellow Sun”.

Adichie’s first novel, Purple Hibiscus which was published in 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 Biafran War. It was awarded the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction.

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 Yorkers “20 Under 40” Fiction Issue. Adichie’s story, “Ceiling”, was included in the 2011 edition of The Best American Short Stories.

In 2013 she published her third novel, Americanah.

An icon in every right, Adichie delivers lectures at various events. Some of the notable ones was the lecture on ‘The Danger of a Single Story’ for TED in 1999. On 15 March 2012, she delivered the “Connecting Cultures” Commonwealth Lecture 2012 at the Guildhall, London.

Some of the Awards and selected nominations of Adichie include in 2002 when she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing, for “You in America”, Runner-up in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, for “The Tree in Grandma’s Garden”, BBC Short Story Competition joint winner, for “That Harmattan Morning”. In 2003, she was awarded the O. Henry Prize for “The American Embassy”, David.  T. Wong International Short Story Prize (PEN Center Award), for “Half of a Yellow Sun”. Adichie’s creative art earned her the prestigious Hurston-Wright Legacy Award (Best Debut Fiction Category), for Purple Hibiscus; shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, for Purple Hibiscus and was longlisted for the Booker Prize, for Purple Hibiscus in 2004. In 2005 she won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Best First Book (Africa), for Purple Hibiscus, and Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Best First Book (overall), for Purple Hibiscus among other numerous awards.

Adichie is married and she divides her time between Nigeria, where she teaches writing workshops, and the United States, where she is resident.

Article Credit: Leadership

Updated 6 Years ago

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