“Loving what you do is the key that opens the door for achievement. When you don’t like what you’re doing it really shows -no matter how hard you try to pretend it doesn’t”- John Maxwell. This describes Chimamanda Adichie whose love for creative writing since birth, has put her on the pinnacle of the world.
Chimamanda Adichie was born on 15 September 1977)in the city of Enugu in Nigeria, and grew up as the fifth of six children in an Igbo family in the university town of Nsukka in Enugu State. While she was growing up, her father James Nwoye Adichie was a professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria. Her mother Grace Ifeoma was the university’s first female registrar. The family lost almost everything during the Nigerian Civil War, including both maternal and paternal grandfathers. Her family’s ancestral village is in Abbain Anambra State. “Nobody is free from problems. A problem-free life is an illusion-a mirage in the desert. It is a dangerously deceotive perception, which can misleade, blind and distract- Robert S H. Schuller.
“Make every thought, every fact that comes into your mind pay you a profit. Make it work and produce for you. Think of things not as they are but as they might be. Don’t merely dream-but create!”- Maxwell Maltz. She is a Nigerian writer whose works range from novels to short stories to non-fiction. She was described in The Times Literary Supplement as “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors who is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”
“All improvement in your life begins with an improvement in your mental pictures. The development of a positive self image is a vital part of changing your thinking and changing your life”- Brian Tracy. Adichie has written the novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013), the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), and the book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists (2014). Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017. In 2008, she was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant.
Adichie completed her secondary education at the University of Nigeria Secondary School, Nsukka, where she received several academic prizes. She 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 for the United States to study communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She soon transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to be near her sister Uche, who had a medical practice in Coventry, Connecticut. When the novelist was growing up in Nigeria, she was not used to being identified by the colour of her skin. That changed when she arrived in the United States for college. As a black African in America, Adichie was suddenly confronted with what it meant to be a person of color in the United States. Race as an idea became something that she had to navigate and learn. She writes about this in her novel Americanah. She received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University,] with the distinction of summa cum laude in 2001.
In 2008 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She was also awarded a 2011-2012 fellowship by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. In 2016 she was conferred an honorary degree – Doctor of Humane letters, honoris causa, by Johns Hopkins University. In 2017 she was conferred honorary degrees – 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.
Ngozi Adichie’s original and initial inspiration came from Chinua Achebe, after reading late Prof. Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, at the age of 10. Adichie was inspired by seeing her own life represented in the pages. 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” and her story “That Harmattan Morning” was selected as a joint winner of the 2002 BBC World Service Short Story Awards. Surround yourself with people who add value to you and your encourage you, and your talent will go in a positive direction.”-John Maxwell. “You will be in five years what you are today except for the books you need and the people you met.”- Chalie Jones.
“Dream of loft dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. You vision is the promise of you shall at last unveil-John Ruskin”. In 2003, she won the O. Henry Award for “The American Embassy”, and the David T. Wong International Short Story Prize 2002/2003 (PEN Center Award). Her stories were also published in Zoetrope: All-Story, and Topic Magazine. 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). Purple Hibiscus starts with an extended quote from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), 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 award-winner and Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor and BAFTA winner Thandie Newton, and was released in 2014.
Adichie’s third book, The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), is a collection of 12 stories that explore the relationships between men and women, parents and children, Africa and the United States.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), 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”.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 2015, she was co-curator of the PEN World Voices Festival. “There is nothing on earth that you cannot have –once you have mentally accepted the fact you can have it”-Robert Collier.
In March 2017, Americanah was picked as the winner for the “One Book, One New York” program, part of a community reading initiative encouraging all city residents to read the same book. In April 2017, it was announced that Adichie had been elected into the 237th class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the highest honours for intellectuals in the United States, as one of 228 new members to be inducted on 7 October 2017.
Her most recent 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.
For making useful contributions to ‘Creative Writing’ Chimamanda Adichie is our Something2know Amazon of the week. We appreciate her contributions.
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