CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE; a superstar made of ink

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie epitomises the
modern African woman who isn’t afraid to try.

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
epitomises the modern African woman who isn’t
afraid to try.
The 35 year-old rose to fame as a result of her writing
skill, a talent that has made her the envy of many
others in her profession. To say Adichie is a good
writer would be an understatement.
In the last decade, she has published three books all
of which continue to sell consistently. Purple
Hibiscus, Half of A Yellow Sun (which has been
adapted for a movie), and The Thing Around Your
Neck. These novels and their success are what makes
her, perhaps, one of the best writers ever to come
out of Africa.

Current and already getting her a lot of attention is
her fourth title – Americanah – following in the steps
of the previous three. Americanah Adichie says is her
“most powerful and astonishing novel yet”.
It is a story of ‘love and race centered on a young man
and woman from Nigeria who face difficult choices
and challenges in the country they’ve come to call home’.
Consistent with Adichie’s style of using themed local
and global tales, and popular happenings to tell her
stories, Americanah looks at the issue of Nigeria’s
history with dictatorship, how it has embraced multi-
party democracy, and the ever changing global
trends.

A lot is already happening for Adichie as Americanah
continues to receive praise worldwide.
Her mixed American-Nigerian orientation (she
shuttles in and out of both countries) has also helped,
as she was able to pen down Americanah, in a way
that captures the thoughts of cross-border would-be
readers. Dave Eggers, Author of A Hologram For The
King says Adichie’s latest novel is “An incredibly
readable and rich tapestry of Nigerian and American
life, and the ways a handful of vivid characters – so
vivid they feel like family – try to live in both worlds
simultaneously”.

He adds that “ As she did so masterfully with Half of a
Yellow Sun, Adichie paints on a grand canvas, boldly
and confidently, equally adept at conveying the
complicated political backdrop of Lagos as she is in
bringing us into the day-to-day lives of her many new
Americans – a single mom, a student, a hairdresser.
“This is a vey funny, very warm and moving
intergenerational epic that confirms virtuosity,
boundless empathy and searing social acuity.”
Binyavanga Wainaina, Author of One Day I Will Write
About This Place has also described Americanah as
“Fearless”, and a “towering achievement”.

“Americanah dares to bring us a world of a confident
and self-made woman making her way in these
complicated times. This is the Africa of our future.”
Adichie’s attention to rich detail has made her works a
must read. And more enticing is her personality
outside the novels. For most people, she is the
Adichie you see and feel in her novels. In 2012, when
she spoke on “The Danger of a Single Story” at TED, it
was a significant delivery that resulted in a lot of buzz
in mainstream media.

But for the thousands who had read her before 2012,
it was the usual Adichie at work. In the last few years,
she’s shared her knowledge on key societal challenges
at conferences and workshops, and also spoken
extensively on international geopolitics, with Nigeria
as the fulcrum.

Adichie grew up in Nigeria, in a house that was
formerly occupied by the legendary Nigerian writer
Chinua Achebe; her parents are respected academics.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from
the John Hopkins University. She studied medicine
and Pharmacy from the University of Nigeria. She
also studied at the Drexel and Eastern Connecticut
universities. Adichie holds a M.A in African Studies
from Yale University. During the 2005-2006 Academic
Year she was made a Hodder Fellow at Princeton
University.

Her collection of awards, short and long-listings are
way too many, for a writer who is only into her fourth
major material. You can simply say she was born for
this; she’s spoken of how she had always wanted to
write, and how that makes her fulfilled than anything.
“I didn’t ever consciously decide to pursue writing.
I’ve been writing since I was old enough to spell, and
just sitting down and writing made me feel incredibly
fulfilled,” she’s said.

mac oluwaferanmi

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