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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (/tʃɪmɑːmɑːndə əŋɡoʊzi ʌdiːtʃjeɪ/; born 15 September 1977) is a Nigerian writer. 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 city of Enugu, she grew up the fifth of six children in an Igbo family in the university town of Nsukka in southeastern Nigeria, where the University of Nigeria is situated. While she was growing up, her father James Nwoye Adichie was a professor of statistics at the university, and her mother Grace Ifeoma was the university's first female registrar. Her family's ancestral village is in Abba in Anambra State.
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 age 19, Adichie left Nigeria for the United States to study communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia; she transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to be near her sister, who had a medical practice in Coventry. She received a bachelor's degree from Eastern, with the distinction of 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 degree in African studies from Yale University.
Adichie was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-06 academic year. In 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also been awarded a 2011-12 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.
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 for her short story "You in America".
In 2003, her story "That Harmattan Morning" was selected as a 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) and a 2007 Beyond Margins Award for her novel Half of a Yellow Sun.
Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (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 Nigerian Civil War. It received the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.Half of a Yellow Sun has been adapted into a film of the same title directed by Biyi Bandele, starring BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor and BAFTA award-winner Thandie Newton, and was released in 2014.
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. Adichie's story, "Ceiling", was included in the 2011 edition of The Best American Short Stories.
Her third novel, Americanah (2013), was published and was selected by the New York Times as one of The 10 Best Books of 2013.
In April 2014 she was named as one of 39 writers aged under 40 in the Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club project celebrating Port Harcourt UNESCO World Book Capital 2014.
Adichie says on feminism and writing, "I think of myself as a storyteller, but I would not mind at all if someone were to think of me as a feminist writer... I'm very feminist in the way I look at the world, and that worldview must somehow be part of my work."
Adichie spoke on "The Danger of a Single Story" for TED in 2009. On 15 March 2012, she delivered the "Connecting Cultures" Commonwealth Lecture 2012 at the Guildhall, London. Adichie also spoke on being a feminist for TEDxEuston in December 2012, with her speech entitled, "We should all be feminists". This speech was sampled for the 2013 song "***Flawless" by American performer Beyoncé, where it attracted further attention.
"We should all be feminists" TEDx talk:
"We should all be feminists" was a TEDx talk that was given by Adichie in 2012. She shared her experiences of being an African feminist, and her views on gender construction and sexuality. Adichie believes that the problem with gender is that it shapes who we are.
"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."
Various parts of Adichie's talk were sampled in Beyoncé's song "Flawless" in December 2013.
Adichie commented about her speech being featured in "Flawless" in an interview with NPR.org. She believes it is great that the young generation starts talking about feminism.
The use of Adichie's speech in the song has brought many critiques against Beyoncé calling herself a feminist. Adichie defended Beyoncé by asserting that people who say they are feminists are indeed feminists.
Awards and nominations:
Caine Prize for African Writing
"You in America"
Commonwealth Short Story Competition
"The Tree in Grandma's Garden"
BBC Short Story Competition
"That Harmattan Morning"
David T. Wong International Short Story Prize (PEN American Center Award)
"Half of a Yellow Sun"
O. Henry Prize
"The American Embassy"
Hurston-Wright Legacy Award: Best Debut Fiction Category
Young Adult Library Services Association Best Books for Young Adults Award
John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
Commonwealth Writers' Prize: Best First Book (Africa)
Commonwealth Writers' Prize: Best First Book (overall)
National Book Critics Circle Award
Half of a Yellow Sun
British Book Awards: "Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year" category
James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Commonwealth Writers' Prize: Best Book (Africa)
Anisfield-Wolf Book Award: Fiction category
PEN Beyond Margins Award
Orange Broadband Prize: Fiction category
International Impac Dublin Award
Reader's Digest Author of the Year Award
Future Award, Nigeria: Young Person of the Year category
MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant (along with 24 other winners)
International Nonino Prize
Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award
The Thing Around Your Neck
John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
Commonwealth Writers' Prize: Best Book (Africa)
Dayton Literary Peace Prize
ThisDay Awards: "New Champions for an Enduring Culture" category
Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize: Fiction category
National Book Critics Circle Award: Fiction category
Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction
MTV Africa Music Awards 2014: Personality of the Year
C^ Joint win
2010 Listed among The New Yorker′s "20 Under 40",
2013 Listed among New York Times′ "Ten Best Books of 2013", for Americanah,
2013 Listed among 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,
Purple Hibiscus, 2003, ISBN 978-1-61620-242-2,
Half of a Yellow Sun, 2006, ISBN 978-0-00-720028-3,
The Thing Around Your Neck, 2009, ISBN 978-0-307-37523-0,
Americanah, 2013, ISBN 978-0-307-96212-6,
We Should All Be Feminists, 2014, ISBN 978-0-00-811527-2
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license