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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Encyclopedia » Biography » Authors/Writer

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born 15 September 1977) is a Nigerian writer.

She is Igbo.[1] She has been called "the most prominent" of a "procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [that] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature"

Personal life and education

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.

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 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.

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


Writing career

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[3]for her short story "You in America".[4]

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".[5]

Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), received wide critical acclaim; it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction (2004) and was awarded theCommonwealth 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 Yorker′s "20 Under 40" Fiction Issue.[6] Adichie's story, "Ceiling", was included in the 2011 edition of The Best American Short Stories.



Adichie spoke on "The Danger of a Single Story" for TED in 2009.[7] On 15 March 2012, she delivered the "Connecting Cultures" Commonwealth Lecture 2012 at the Guildhall, London.[8]

Awards and selected nominations

  • 2002: Shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing, for "You in America"
  • 2002: Runner-up in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, for "The Tree in Grandma's Garden"
  • 2002: BBC Short Story Competition joint winner, for "That Harmattan Morning"
  • 2003: O. Henry Prize for "The American Embassy"
  • 2002/2003: David T. Wong International Short Story Prize (PEN Center Award), for "Half of a Yellow Sun"
  • 2004: Hurston-Wright Legacy Award (Best Debut Fiction Category), for Purple Hibiscus
  • 2004: Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, for Purple Hibiscus
  • 2004: Longlisted for the Booker Prize, for Purple Hibiscus
  • 2005: Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Best First Book (Africa), for Purple Hibiscus
  • 2005: Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Best First Book (overall), for Purple Hibiscus
  • 2007: Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (Fiction category), for 'Half of a Yellow Sun' (joint winner)
  • 2007: PEN Beyond Margins Award, for Half of a Yellow Sun (joint winner)
  • 2007: Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction for Half of a Yellow Sun
  • 2008: Future Award, Nigeria (Young Person of the Year category)[9][10]
  • 2008: MacArthur Foundation genius grant (along with 24 other winners) [11]
  • 2009: International Nonino Prize[12]
  • 2009: Longlisted for Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, for The Thing Around Your Neck
  • 2009: Shortlisted for John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, for The Thing Around Your Neck
  • 2010: Shortlisted for Commonwealth Writers' Prize: Best Book (Africa), for The Thing Around Your Neck


Updated 3 Years ago

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