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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow Sun

Alfred A. Knopf

2007 Fiction

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on 15 September 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents, Grace Ifeoma and James Nwoye Adichie. While the family's ancestral hometown is Abba in Anambra State, Chimamanda grew up in Nsukka, in the house formerly occupied by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. Chimamanda's father, who is now retired, worked at the University of Nigeria, located in Nsukka. He was Nigeria's first professor of statistics, and later became Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University. Her mother was the first female registrar at the same institution.

Chimamanda completed her secondary education at the University's school, receiving several academic prizes. She went on to study 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 nineteen, Chimamanda left for the United States. She gained a scholarship to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years, and she went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. While in Connecticut, she stayed with her sister Igeoma, who runs a medical practice close to the university.

Chimamanda graduated summa cum laude from Eastern in 2001, and then completed a master's degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

It is during her senior year at Eastern that she started working on her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, which was released in October 2003. The book has received wide critical acclaim: it was shortlisted for the Orange Fiction Prize (2004) and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (2005).

Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (also the title of one of her short stories), is set before and during the Biafran War. It was published in August 2006 in the United Kingdom and in September 2006 in the United States. Like Purple Hibiscus, it has also been released in Nigeria.

At the moment, Chimamanda divides her time between Nigeria and the United States. She was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-2006 academic year, and is now pursuing graduate work in the African Studies program at Yale University.

She says her next major literary project will probably focus on Nigerian immigrants

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Blog Posts about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Anisfield-Wolf Authors Protest "Muslim Ban" In An Open Letter To President Trump

Sixty-six writers and artists – including seven Anisfield-Wolf recipients and two jury members – wrote an open letter to President Donald Trump asking him to desist from broadly banning travel to the United States by people from seven predominately Muslim countries. The letter, sponsored by PEN America, is timed to influence the president before he issues a second version of his original, sweeping travel ban, which is now stayed by the U.S. District Court of Appeals. “Preventing international artists from contributing to American... Read More →

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Salutes First Lady Michelle Obama In New York Times Style Magazine

The editors of the New York Times Style magazine invited four woman to write letters of appreciation to Michelle Obama for the October 23, 2016 issue. The first – and arguably the most powerful – letter came from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for her second novel, “Half of a Yellow Sun” in 2007. The following year she won a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and her third novel, “Americanah,” was named one of the ten best books of 2013. Adichie’s TED talks, “We Should All be Feminist” and... Read More →

Public Art Inspired By Anisfield-Wolf Canon Makes A Splash Across Cleveland

Riders heading to downtown Cleveland on the RTA’s Red Line may have noticed quite a few more pops of color adorning the city landscape over the past two weeks. The colors have a story, and each story comes from a work or writer in the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award canon.Inter|Urban, the collaboration among the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Foundation, North East Ohio Area Coordinating Agency, RTA and LAND studio, has filled the 19-mile stretch from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and into downtown Cleveland with bright, vibrant... Read More →

An Overlooked Classic, "Nervous Conditions" Is A Book That Deserves A Second Life In The Mainstream

 by Gail Arnoff“I was not sorry when my brother died.”  So begins Tsi Tsi Dangarembga's semi-autobiographical novel Nervous Conditions, the story of Tambudzai, a teenage girl in (the former Rhodesia now Zimbabwe) who lives in two worlds: that of her parents, poor farmers who earn a meager living, and that of her aunt and uncle, whom the British colonists have chosen to receive an education in England and eventually to run the missionary school.  I fell in love with Tambu in the first few pages, and as I introduce her to more readers, I... Read More →

REVIEW: "Half Of A Yellow Sun" Adaptation Tackles A Violent History With A Emphasis On Humanity

A still shot from the film, Half of a Yellow Sun, starring Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor Half of a Yellow Sun is now available on iTunes and other video streaming services.  by Lisa Nielson  The film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun is subtle and engrossing. Directed by Nigerian playwright Biyi Bandele, the film stars British actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton, supported by a strong ensemble cast of Nigerian and British actors. Half of a Yellow Sun received mixed reviews in the US and... Read More →

VIDEO: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie On Becoming Black: "This Identity Was Weighted With Stereotypes"

"When you're not born in the U.S. and you're a person of African descent, in some ways identifying as black becomes a political choice," novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie told Tavis Smiley during a recent appearance on his PBS show. "I'm very happily black."  Adichie was on hand to discuss her most recent novel, Americanah, now available in paperback. A love story that spans three continents, Americanah is about many things—with race and immigration at the forefront.   "I wanted to write about a kind of immigration that is familiar to... Read More →

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Launches Real-Life "Americanah" Blog

Last year, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie created Ifemelu, the protagonist and blogger in her novel “Americanah,” one of the smartest and sharpest chronicles of contemporary life on three continents. Now, readers can catch up with Ifemelu through "The Small Redemptions of Lagos," at AmericanahBlog.com. This new blog focuses on Ifemelu's life in Nigeria, a kind of younger sibling to the novel’s incendiary and anonymous blog, “Raceteenth or Various Observations about American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negros) by a Non-American... Read More →

Zadie Smith And Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Talk Race, Romance Novels And Beyonce At The Schomburg Center

Novelists Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – both Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners -- displayed a warm, comfortable familiarity on stage for their recent appearance at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. Fresh off Adichie's National Book Critics Circle win for “Americanah,” her novel about “love, race and hair,” the conversation between the two literary lionesses veered from the amusing to the insightful. Watch the duo discuss Adichie's fascination with race and class, the absurdity of romance... Read More →

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Wins National Book Critics Award For "Americanah"

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Americanah" took the top prize for fiction at the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Awards .  Karen Long, Anisfield-Wolf manager and judge for the NBCC, praised Adichie's latest: “Americanah”—it should be stressed—doesn’t reprimand. The writing glints; minor characters flair and spark."  In a recent HuffPost Live interview, Adichie asserted that "Americanah" was the book she wanted to write for her own personal satisfaction:  "I felt almost liberated," she remarked. "This is the novel where I'm... Read More →

VIDEO: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Talks Feminism, Fashion, And Politics

Fresh off a feature on Beyonce's secret album, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stopped by HuffPost Live to talk about how her latest work, Americanah, fits in her literary career and how she found comfort in breaking the rules.    Watch as Adichie, a 2007 Anisfield-Wolf award winner, discusses embracing her fashion sense as a "serious writer," the importance of race and class in feminism, and more.  Read More →

Finally! "Half Of A Yellow Sun" Trailer Hits The Web

After months of little publicity, the official trailer for "Half Of A Yellow Sun" has been released, weeks ahead of the film's debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September.    The big screen adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's acclaimed 2006 novel has been in the works since 2008. First-time director Biyi Bandele, celebrated Nigerian novelist and playwright, has ushered the project from script to screen.    Unlike most productions in Nollywood, Nigeria's film industry, "Half of A Yellow Sun" has serious Hollywood power in its... Read More →

REVIEW: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Soars With "Americanah"

Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Knopf, 477 pp., $26.95 Hair asserts itself on the first page of “Americanah,” a knowing, prickly and virtuosic novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She was 29 when she won an Anisfield-Wolf award in 2007 for “Half of a Yellow Sun”; she picked up a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant the following year. Her mother, a Nigerian university registrar, likes to say little Chimamanda started to read when she was 2. The writer herself thinks it was probably around age 4. “Americanah” wears its... Read More →

VIDEO: "Nollywood" Brings Adaptation of Adichie's "Half of a Yellow Sun"

If you can't find the art you want, make it yourself. That was famously the mindset of Jay-Z, when the rapper started Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995, and that DIY approach animates "Nollywood," the Nigerian film industry. Approximately 1,000 Nigerian movies are produced each year, surpassing the 800 films churned out annually in the U.S. For innovators everywhere, digital innovations have lowered technological barriers and production costs. Without a formal distribution model, Nigerian film prospers—many movies are watched at home in a nation... Read More →

Celebrated Nigerian Author Chinua Achebe Dies At 82

During my freshman year at Kent State University, I was a little wary when I saw one of the books listed on my syllabus in my English class: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. My tongue stumbled over his name and I sat there trying all the possible pronunciations until I figured it might be best to just ask the professor.  I grabbed the book from the university bookstore and went back to my dorm to read a few chapters. Instead, I finished the whole book that evening.  Set in Nigeria, highlighting the conflict between traditional Igbo... Read More →

VIDEO: The Danger Of The Single Story

In this TED talk, Chimamanda Adichie discusses the danger of the single story—that is, how powerful individual stories about a country can warp our minds as to what life in those places is really like. Check out her story and let us know: How has literature impacted the way you see the world?    Read More →

Huffington Post Reveals 50 Books Every African American Should Read - How Many AW Winners Made The List?

Gwendolyn Brooks Huffington Post's Black Voices rounded up 50 books the editors think every African American should read (they added on Twitter that of course the list has value to everyone, but these books focus primarily on the black experience in America). We were thrilled to see how many Anisfield-Wolf winners were on the list, proving to us once again that our winners stand out in the crowded literary field.  Gwendolyn Brooks "Annie Allen" (1949) Edwidge Danticat "Breath, Eyes, Memory" (1999) Chimamanda Adichie "Half Of A Yellow Sun... Read More →

VIDEO: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie On Her Book, "The Thing Around Your Neck"

"I've always felt one step removed from things because I've always felt I've been watching. I wasn't entirely there. There was a part of me that was always milking details for a story...I think it's the lot of the writer." — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2007 Anisfield-Wolf award winner.  Read More →
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