Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author who was born on September 15, 1977, has written novels, short tales, and nonfiction.
She was said to as “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors which is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature” in The Times Literary Supplement, particularly in her second country, the United States.
Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), Americanah (2013), The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), and the book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists are among Adichie’s works. She has also published short stories. (2014).
Her most recent works include Notes on Grief (2021), Zikora (2020), and Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (2017).
She received a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2008. In 2018, she was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize. She was named one of the BBC’s 100 most influential women in 2021.
Full name: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Date of birth: 15 September 1977
Place of birth: Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria
Pen name: Amanda N. Adichie
Occuoation: Novelist, short shorty writer, non-fiction writer
Nationality: Nigerian, American
Spouse: Ivara Esege (m. 2009)
Notable Award: MacArthur Fellowship (2008), International Nonino Prize (2009), PEN Pinter Prize (2018)
Adichie was the fifth of six children born into an Igbo household in the Nigerian city of Enugu. She was raised in the Enugu State university town of Nsukka.
Her father, James Nwoye Adichie (1932-2020), was a professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria when she was a child. Grace Ifeoma, who served as the university’s first female registrar from 1942 to 2021, is her mother.
They resided in a residence on campus that was formerly owned by Chinua Achebe. Her paternal and maternal grandparents were among the members of the family who practically lost everything during the Nigerian Civil War. Abba is the ancestral home of her family in the state of Anambra.
At the University of Nigeria Secondary School in Nsukka, where Adichie finished her secondary education, she won numerous academic honors.
She spent a year and a half at the University of Nigeria studying pharmacy and medicine. She was the editor of The Compass, a publication maintained by the university’s Catholic medical students, during this time.
Adichie moved from Nigeria to the United States at the age of 19 to attend Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to study political science and communications.
She changed schools to ECSU in order to be close to her sister Uche, who worked as a doctor in Coventry, Connecticut. Summa cum laude, in 2001, she graduated from ECSU with a bachelor’s degree.
Adichie earned her master’s in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University in 2003. Adichie spent the 2005–2006 academic year at Princeton University as a Hodder fellow. She graduated from Yale University with a Master of Arts in African studies in 2008.
She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008 as well. She received a fellowship from Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study for the academic year 2011–2012.
Adichie has received sixteen honorary doctorate degrees from universities including Yale, Pennsylvania, Edinburgh, Duke, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, and the Catholic University of Louvain, where she will receive her sixteenth on April 28, 2022.
Adichie Writing career
Under the name Amanda N. Adichie, Adichie wrote a book of poems in 1997 called Decisions and a drama titled For Love of Biafra in 1998.
When Adichie was a college senior living in Connecticut, she wrote the short story “My Mother, the Crazy African,” which explores the difficulties that might develop when a person is confronted by two cultures that are diametrically opposed to one another.
Adichie also contributed to Topic Magazine and Zoetrope: All-Story.
Purple Hibiscus, her debut book, was widely praised by critics and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2004 as well as the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. (2005).
Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), the title of her second book, is set before and during the Nigerian Civil War and is inspired by the flag of the ill-fated country of Biafra.
Adichie has stated that she created the novel as a memorial to her own grandfather, who passed away in a refugee camp during the war.
Destination Biafra by Buchi Emecheta, published in 1982, was crucial for Adichie’s research while she was writing Half of a Yellow Sun. The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction were given to Half of a Yellow Sun in 2007.
The 2014 adaptation of Half of a Yellow Sun, directed by Biyi Bandele and starring BAFTA and Academy Award contender Chiwetel Ejiofor and BAFTA winner Thandiwe Newton, was based on the novel of the same name.
Half of a Yellow Sun was chosen by the general audience in November 2020 as the best work of fiction to have won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in its 25-year existence.
The Thing Around Your Neck, Adichie’s third book, is a collection of 12 short stories that examines the relationships between men and women, parents and children, and America and Africa. The Best American Short Stories from 2011 featured Adichie’s story “Ceiling.”
Her third novel Americanah in 2013, an exploration of a young Nigerian encountering race in America was selected by The New York Times as one of “The 10 Best Books of 2013”.
As a youth in Nigeria, Adichie was not accustomed to being identified by the colour of her skin, which only began to happen when she arrived in the United States for college.
As a black African in America, Adichie was confronted with what it meant to be a person of colour in the United States. Race as an idea became something that she had to navigate and learn.
She then wrote about this experience through this novel. The book went on to win the National Book Critics Circle Award and was picked as the winner for the 2017 “One Book, One New York” program part of a community reading initiative encouraging all city residents to read the same book.
In 2015, she was co-curator of the PEN World Voices Festival. Her next book Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, published in March 2017, had its origins in a letter Adichie wrote to a friend who had asked for advice about how to raise her daughter as a feminist.
As of 2020, Adichie published Zikora, a stand-alone short story about sexism and single motherhood. In May 2021, Adichie released a memoir based on her father’s death titled Notes on Grief, based on an essay of the same title published in The New Yorker in September 2020.
As described by the reviewer for The Independent, “Her words put a welcome, authentic voice to this most universal of emotions, which is also one of the most universally avoided.”
In April 2022, Adiche debuted her first children’s book titled Mama’s Sleeping Scarf to be released in 2023 and dedicated to her daughter.
In an interview, history professor Toyin Falola discussed some Nigerian leaders who, in his opinion, have received too much praise for their accomplishments.
He uses a number of Nigerian academics who he rightfully refers to as “intellectual heroes” to support his claim. On his list, he mentions Bolanle Awe, Eni Njoku, Ayodele Awojobi, Babatunde Fafunwa, Simeon Adebo, Teslim Elias, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chinua Achebe, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Ngozi Adichie’s original and initial inspiration came from Chinua Achebe, after reading his 1958 novel Things Fall Apart at the age of 10; Adichie has said that she realized that people who looked like herself could “live in books” while reading Achebe’s novels.
She has also named Buchi Emecheta as a Nigerian literary inspiration, upon whose death Adichie said: “Buchi Emecheta. We are able to speak because you first spoke.
Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your art Nodu na ndokwa.”Other books Adichie has cited as having been important in her reading include Camara Laye’s The African Child and the 1992 anthology Daughters of Africa edited by Margaret Busby.
One of the most popular female authors in Nigeria and all of Africa is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her estimated net worth is $50000.
“The Danger of a Single Story”
Adichie delivered a talk titled “The Danger of a Single Story” for TED in 2009. It has become one of the most-viewed TED Talks of all time, having amassed over 33 million views.
In the talk she expressed her concern for under-representation of various cultures. She explained that as a young child, she had often read American and British stories where the characters were primarily of Caucasian origin.
At the lecture, she said that the under-representation of cultural differences could be dangerous. Adichie concluded the lecture by noting the significance of different stories in various cultures and the representation that they deserve.
She advocated for a greater understanding of stories because people are complex, saying that by understanding only a single story, one misinterprets people, their backgrounds, and their histories.
Since 2009, she revisited the topic when speaking to audiences such as the Hilton Humanitarian Symposium of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in 2019.
“We should all be feminists”
In 2012, Adichie gave a TEDx talk entitled: “We should all be feminists”, delivered at TedXEuston in London, which has been viewed more than five million times and was later published as a book in 2014 by Fourth Estate titled We Should All Be Feminist. The book has reportedly sold 750,000 copies in the U.S. alone.
She shared her experiences of being an African feminist, and her views on gender construction and sexuality. Adichie said that the problem with gender is that it shapes who we are.
She also said: “I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change, but in addition to being angry, I’m also hopeful because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to make and remake themselves for the better.”
On 8 December 2021, Adichie was interviewed by BBC News about the responsibility of being a feminist icon; she stated that she did not want another person to define her responsibility and she rather defined her responsibility for herself but did not mind using her platform to speak up for someone else. She also spoke about the right of women to be angry, because anger propels action.
Sampling in “Flawless”
Parts of Adichie’s TEDx talk were sampled in Beyoncé’s song “Flawless” in December 2013.
When asked in an NPR interview for her reaction to Beyoncé sampling her talk, Adichie said that “anything that gets young people talking about feminism is a very good thing”.
She later qualified the statement in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant: “Another thing I hated was that I read everywhere: now people finally know her, thanks to Beyoncé, or: she must be very grateful. I found that disappointing.
I thought: I am a writer and I have been for some time and I refuse to perform in this charade that is now apparently expected of me: ‘Thanks to Beyoncé, my life will never be the same again.’ That’s why I didn’t speak about it much.”
Adichie has clarified that her particular feminism differs from Beyoncé’s, particularly in their disagreements about the role occupied by men in women’s lives, saying:
“Her style is not my style but I do find it interesting that she takes a stand in political and social issues since a few years. She portrays a woman who is in charge of her own destiny, who does her own thing, and she has girl power. I am very taken with that.”
Nevertheless, Adichie has been outspoken against critics who question the singer’s credentials as a feminist, and has said: “Whoever says they’re feminist is bloody feminist.”
On 15 March 2012, Adichie delivered the Commonwealth Lecture 2012 at the Guildhall, London, addressing the theme “Connecting Cultures” and explaining: “Realistic fiction is not merely the recording of the real, as it were, it is more than that, it seeks to infuse the real with meaning.
As events unfold, we do not always know what they mean. But in telling the story of what happened, meaning emerges and we are able to make connections with emotive significance.”
“Freedom of speech”
Adichie gave the first of the 2022 Reith Lectures for the BBC, which were modeled after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” address, on November 30, 2022.
Adichie View On Feminism
Adichie spoke about feminism and writing in an interview from 2014: “I think of myself as a storyteller, but I would not object in the slightest if someone were to think of me as a feminist writer…
I have a highly feminist perspective on the world, so that perspective must somehow be present in my work.
Adichie View On Religion
Adichie is a Catholic and was brought up in a Catholic home, but she feels that occasionally her opinions, particularly those on feminism, are at odds with her religion.
She claimed that religion “is not a women-friendly institution” and “has been used to justify oppressions that are based on the idea that women are not equal human beings” during a Georgetown University event in 2017.
She has urged Nigerian Muslim and Christian leaders to spread messages of harmony and peace. She has also defined as culturally Catholic despite earlier identifying as an atheist and bringing up her daughter in the Catholic faith. She revealed that she had reverted to her Catholic faith in a 2021 Humboldt Forum.
Adichie supports LGBT rights in Africa; in 2014, when Nigeria passed an anti-homosexuality bill, she was among the Nigerian writers who objected to the law, calling it unconstitutional and “a strange priority to a country with so many real problems”, stating that a crime is a crime for a reason because a crime has victims, and that since consensual homosexual conduct between adults does not constitute a crime, the law is unjust.
Adichie was also close friends with Kenyan openly gay writer Binyavanga Wainaina, and when he died on 21 May 2019 after suffering a stroke in Nairobi, Adichie said in her tribute that she was struggling to stop crying.
Since 2017, Adichie has been repeatedly accused of transphobia, initially for saying that “my feeling is trans women are trans women” in response to the question “Are trans women women?”
Adichie later clarified her statement, writing: Perhaps I should have said trans women are trans women and cis women are cis women and all are women.
Except that ‘cis’ is not an organic part of my vocabulary. And would probably not be understood by a majority of people. Because saying ‘trans’ and ‘cis’ acknowledges that there is a distinction between women born female and women who transition, without elevating one or the other, which was my point. I have and will continue to stand up for the rights of transgender people.”
In 2020, Adichie weighed into “all the noise” sparked by J. K. Rowling’s article titled “J.K. Rowling Writes about Her Reasons for Speaking out on Sex and Gender Issues”, and called the essay “perfectly reasonable”.
Adichie again faced accusations of transphobia, some of which came from Nigerian author Akwaeke Emezi, who had graduated from Adichie’s writing workshop.
In response to the backlash, Adichie criticised cancel culture, saying: “There’s a sense in which you aren’t allowed to learn and grow. Also forgiveness is out of the question. I find it so lacking in compassion.”
In a June 2021 essay titled “It Is Obscene”, Adichie again criticised cancel culture, discussing her experiences with two unnamed writers who attended her writing workshop and later lambasted her on social media over comments she made about transgender people.
She labelled what she called their “passionate performance of virtue that is well executed in the public space of Twitter but not in the intimate space of friendship” as “obscene”.
Adichie Personal life
Adichie wed Nigerian doctor Ivara Esege in 2009. One daughter was born to the couple in 2016.
Adichie splits her time teaching writing seminars in Nigeria and the United States.
Adichie awards and recognition
In 2002, she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story “You in America”, and her story “That Harmattan Morning” was selected as a joint winner of the 2002 BBC World Service Short Story Awards.
In 2003, she won the David T. Wong International Short Story Prize 2002/2003 (PEN Center Award).]
In 2010 she was listed among the authors of The New Yorker‘s “20 Under 40” Fiction Issue. In April 2014, she was named as one of 39 writers aged under 40 in the Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club project Africa39, celebrating Port Harcourt UNESCO World Book Capital 2014.
In April 2017, it was announced that Adichie had been elected, as one of 228 new members to ube inducted on 7 October 2017,into the 237th class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; this was one of the highest honours for intellectuals in the United States.
Adichie holds 16 honorary doctorate degrees from universities including Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Edinburgh, Duke University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, and the Catholic University of Louvain.
In 2016, she was conferred with an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, by Johns Hopkins University.
In 2017, she was conferred an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, by Haverford College] and The University of Edinburgh.
In 2018, she received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Amherst College. She received an honorary degree, doctor honoris causa, from the Université de Fribourg, Switzerland, in 2019.
On 20 May 2019, Ngozi Adichie received an honorary degree from Yale University. On 28 April 2022, she received her 16th honorary doctorate degree from the Catholic University of Louvain.
On 13 October 2022, a member of Adichie ’s communications team told the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian that she rejected an award that was to be given to her by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari: “The author did not accept the award and, as such, did not attend the ceremony.”
On 30 December 2022, Adichie was made the Odeluwa of Abba, a Nigerian chief, by the kingdom of Abba in her native Anambra State. She was the first woman to receive such an honour from the kingdom.
Adichie other recognition
- 2010 Listed among The New Yorker‘s “20 Under 40”
- 2013 Listed among The New York Times‘ “Ten Best Books of 2013”, for Americanah
- 2013 Listed among the BBC’s “Top Ten Books of 2013”, for Americanah
- 2013 Foreign Policy magazine “Top Global Thinkers of 2013”
- 2013 Listed among the New African‘s “100 Most Influential Africans 2013”
- 2014 Listed among Africa39 project of 39 writers aged under 40
- 2015 Listed among Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”
- 2015 Commencement Speaker at Wellesley College
- 2017 Commencement Speaker at Williams College
- 2018 Class Day Speaker for Harvard University.
- 2019 Class Day Speaker for Yale University.
- Adichie was one of 15 women selected to appear on the cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, guest-edited by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
- Adichie was cited as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019.
- Chimamanda was also elected in March 2017 into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This made her the second Nigerian to be given such an honour, after Prof. Wole Soyinka. She was listed among the 40 Honorary members from 19 countries.
Adichie Net Worth
One of the most popular female authors in Nigeria and all of Africa is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her estimated net worth is $50000.
Reading Chinua Achebe’s books and recognizing herself in the lives of his characters inspired her to start writing.
What is the danger of a single story?
The danger of only hearing one side of a story is that it may cause us to make snap judgments, default assumptions, and decisions that may be inaccurate and cause misunderstanding.
We may be prevented from seeing a situation in a more intricate, nuanced way if we operate within the confines of a single narrative.
Which Chimamanda book to read first?
The works of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are the greatest place to start if you want to immerse yourself in a new viewpoint on African literature that was written from an African perspective by an actual African. Start with her collection of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck, for a great treat with various stories.