Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Smiling black African woman
Adichie in 2015
BornAmanda Ngozi Adichie
(1977-09-15) 15 September 1977 (age 46)
Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria
  • Writer
  • public speaker
  • fashionista
Alma mater
Notable works
Notable awards
Ivara Esege
(m. 2009)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (/ˌɪməˈmɑːndə əŋˈɡzi əˈdi./ [a]; born 15 September 1977) is a Nigerian writer, novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright of postcolonial feminist literature and public speaker. She is the author of the award-winning novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) and Americanah (2013). Her other works include the book essays We Should All Be Feminists (2014); Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (2017); a memoir tribute to her father, Notes on Grief (2021); and a children's book, Mama's Sleeping Scarf (2023).

Born in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria, Adichie's childhood was influenced by the aftermath of colonial rule, and the Nigerian Civil War which took the lives of both of her grandfathers. The war was the setting for her first novel and the subject of her second. Most of her works explore the themes of religion, Americanization, immigration, racism, gender, marriage, motherhood and womanhood. She was educated at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and moved to the United States at nineteen to complete her education. She first published the poetry collection Decisions in 1997, which was followed by a play, For Love of Biafra, in 1998. In less than ten years, she published eight books: novels, poems, book essays and collections, memoirs, children's books, reviews and short stories. Adichie has cited Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta, Enid Blyton and other authors as inspirations. Her style juxtaposes Western and African influences, particularly focusing on her own native Igbo language and culture.

Adichie's 2009 TED Talk "The Danger of a Single Story" is one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time. Her 2012 talk "We Should All Be Feminists", was sampled by Beyoncé and featured on a tee-shirt by the French fashion house Dior in 2016. Adichie advocates using fashion as a medium to break down stereotypes and was recognised for her "Wear Nigerian Campaign" with a Shorty Award in 2018. Both her written works and public speaking encourage recognition of the diversity of humanity and the need for equality. She has received numerous academic awards, fellowships, and honourary degrees, among them a MacArthur Fellowship in 2008 and an induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.

Early life, education, and family[edit]

Family and background[edit]

Map of southern Nigerian states
Adichie's birthplace, Enugu in Enugu State, Nigeria, where she grew up.

Ngozi Adichie, whose English name was Amanda,[3][4] was born on 15 September 1977, in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria, as the fifth out of six children, to Igbo parents, Grace (née Odigwe) and James Adichie.[5][6] She made up the name "Chimamanda" in the 1990s to keep her legal English name of "Amanda" and conform with Igbo Christian naming customs of the time,[b] which she revealed in an interview with the Nigerian television personality Ebuka Obi-Uchendu.[3][8] She was raised in Enugu, which lies in the southeastern part of Nigeria,[9] and had been the capital of the short-lived Republic of Biafra.[10]

Adichie's father was born in Abba, Anambra State, and studied mathematics at University College, Ibadan. After graduating in 1957, he worked for a few years and then in 1963, moved to Berkeley, California, to complete his PhD at the University of California. He returned to Nigeria and began working as a professor at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1966.[11] Her mother was born in Umunnachi, Anambra State.[5] James married Grace on 15 April 1963,[12] and moved with her to California, US.[13] While in the United States, the couple had two daughters.[12] Grace began her university studies in 1964, at Merritt College in Oakland, California, and then later earned a degree in sociology and anthropology from the University of Nigeria.[5][14]

Shortly after the family returned to Nigeria, the Biafran War broke out and James started working for the Biafran government[13] at the Biafran Manpower Directorate.[15] The family lost almost everything including Adichie's maternal and paternal grandfathers during the 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom.[16] James wrote that both his brother, Michael Adichie, and brother-in-law, Cyprian Odigwe, fought for Biafra in the war.[15] James' father, David, and his father-in-law, both died in refugee camps during the war. Obligated by custom which required the oldest child to bury the father,[13] when the war ended, James went to the refugee camp at Nteje to find his father's body and was told by officials that those who had died had been buried in a mass grave as they were unidentifiable. In a symbolic gesture, James took sand from the site of the mass grave to the cemetery in Abba to bury David with his family.[15][c]

Education and influences[edit]

After Biafra ceased to exist in 1970, James returned to the University of Nigeria in Nsukka[11][13] while Grace worked for the government at Enugu until 1973 when she became an administration officer at the university, later becoming the university's first female registrar.[5][14] The family stayed at the campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, previously occupied by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe.[18] When they moved in, the family included Ijeoma Rosemary, Uchenna "Uche", Chukwunweike "Chuks", Okechukwu "Okey", Ngozi, and Kenechukwu "Kene" and her father was then, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university.[4][12] Adichie was Catholic and when she was young, she wished she could be a priest.[13] Her family's home parish was St. Paul's Parish in Abba.[15]

As a child, Adichie read only English-language stories,[13] especially by Enid Blyton. Adichie's juvenilia included stories with characters who were white and blue-eyed, modeled on British children she had read about.[13][15][19] At ten, she discovered African literature and began reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe,[18] The African Child by Camara Laye,[19] Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's Weep Not, Child and Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta.[15] Adichie began to study her father's stories about Biafra when she was thirteen. The war occurred before she was born, but in visits to Abba, she saw houses that were destroyed and some rusty bullets on the ground. She would later incorporate her memories and father's descriptions into her novels.[15] Adichie, who started school was educated in both Igbo and English.[9] Although Igbo was not a popular subject, she continued taking courses in the language throughout high school.[13] She completed her secondary education at the University of Nigeria Campus Secondary School, Nsukka with top distinction in the West African Examinations Council (WAEC),[4] and academic prizes.[20] She was admitted to the University of Nigeria, and studied medicine and pharmacy for a year and half.[21] She was also the editor of The Compass, a student-run magazine in the university.[22]

Education abroad and early literary efforts[edit]

Adichie published Decisions, a collection of poems, in 1997 and then left for the United States.[19] At the age of 19, she moved from Nigeria to study communications at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[20][22] She wrote For Love of Biafra, a play, in 1998, which was her initial exploration of the theme of war following the Nigerian Civil War.[19] These early works were written under the name Amanda N. Adichie.[3] Two years after moving to the United States, she transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Connecticut, where she lived with her sister Ijeoma, who was a medical doctor there.[9] In 2000, she published her short story "My Mother, the Crazy African",[23] which discusses the problems that arise when a person is facing two cultures that are complete opposites from each other.[24] After finishing her undergraduate degree, she continued her pattern of simultaneously studying and pursuing a writing career.[19] While a senior at Eastern Connecticut, she wrote articles for the university paper Campus Lantern.[22] She received her bachelor's degree summa cum laude with a major in political science and a minor in communications in 2001.[9][22] She earned a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University in creative writing in 2003,[22][25] and for the next two years was a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University where she taught introductory fiction.[19][20] She then began a course in African studies at Yale University, and completed a second master's degree in 2008.[9][19] Adichie received a MacArthur Fellowship that same year[26] plus other academic prizes, including the 2011–2012 Fellowship of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study from Harvard University.[27] Adichie married Ivara Esege, a Nigerian doctor, in 2009,[13] and their daughter was born in 2016.[28] The family primarily lives in the United States because of Esege's medical practice, but they also maintain a home in Nigeria.[13] Adichie has Nigerian nationality and permanent resident status in the US.[29]



While studying in the US, Adichie started researching and writing her first novel Purple Hibiscus. It was written during a period of homesickness and set in her childhood home of Nsukka, Nigeria.[15] The book explored post-colonial Nigeria during a military coup d'état and examined cultural conflicts between Christianity and Igbo traditions within the dynamics and generations of a family, touching on themes of class, gender, race, and violence.[30] She sent her manuscript to publishing houses and agents, who either rejected it, or requested that she change the setting from Africa to America, as it was more familiar to a broad range of readers. Eventually, she was emailed by Djana Pearson Morris, a literary agent working at Pearson Morris and Belt Literary Management, seeking the manuscript with lines saying, "I like this and I'm willing to take a risk on you."[15] Morris recognised that marketing would be challenging since Adichie was Black, and neither was she an African American nor Caribbean. Adichie, who was desperate to be published, sent her manuscript to the agent, who sent it to publishers until it was accepted by Algonquin Books in 2003.[31] Algonquin focused on publishing debut novels and was not concerned with industry trends. Thus, they created support for the book by sending advance copies to booksellers, reviewers, and media houses. They also sent Adichie on a promotional tour[15] and the manuscript to Fourth Estate, who accepted the book for publication in the United Kingdom in 2004.[15] Adichie hired the agent Sarah Chalfant of the Wylie Agency to represent her. The book was published by Kachifo Limited in Nigeria in 2004,[31] and subsequently translated into more than fourty languages.[15]

Woman sitting at a table signing books, surrounded by a crowd of other people
Adichie at the reading and signing of her work Americanah in Berlin, Germany (2014)

After her first book, Adichie began writing Half of a Yellow Sun. She worked on it for four years, researching extensively and studying her father's memories of the period and Buchi Emecheta's Destination Biafra.[32][33] It was first published by Anchor Books, a trademark of Alfred A. Knopf, who also released it later under its Vintage Canada label. It was also published in France as L'autre moitié du soleil in 2008, by Éditions Gallimard.[34] The novel expanded on the Biafran conflict weaving together a love story which included people from various regions and social classes of Nigeria, and how the war and encounters with refugees changed them.[13][33]

While completing her Hodder and MacArthur fellowships, Adichie published short stories in various magazines.[15] Twelve of these stories were collected into her third book, The Thing Around Your Neck, published by Knopf in 2009.[35] The stories focused on the experiences of Nigerian women, living at home or abroad, examining the tragedies, loneliness, and feelings of displacement, which result from their marriages, relocations, or violent events.[36] The Thing Around Your Neck was a bridge between Africa and the African diaspora, which was also the theme of her fourth book, Americanah published in 2013.[15] It was the story of a young Nigerian woman and her male schoolmate, who had not studied the trans-Atlantic slave trade in school and had no understanding of the racism associated with being Black in the United States or class structures in the United Kingdom.[37][38] It exploded the myth of a "shared Black consciousness", as both of the characters, one who went to Britain and the other to America, experience a loss of their identity when they try to navigate their lives abroad.[38]

Adichie was invited to be a visiting writer at the University of Michigan on the Flint campus in 2014. The Renowned African Writers/African and African Diaspora Artists Visit Series required her to engage with students and teachers from area high schools and universities, patrons of the local public library, and the community at large in forums, workshops, and lectures which discussed Purple Hibiscus, Americana, and her personal writing experiences. Clips from her talks "The Danger of a Single Story" and "We Should All Be Feminists" were also aired at some of the events and discussed in the question and answer segment following her varied presentations.[39] In 2015, Adichie wrote a letter to a friend and posted it on Facebook in 2016. Comments on the post, convinced her to expand her ideas on how to raise a feminist daughter into a book,[40] Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions which was published in 2017.[41] In 2020, she published "Zikora", a stand-alone short story about sexism and single motherhood,[42] and an essay "Notes on Grief" in The New Yorker, after her father's death. She expanded the essay into a book of the same name, which was published by the Fourth Estate the following year.[43][44]

In 2020, Adichie adapted and published We Should All Be Feminists as a children's edition illustrated by Leire Salaberria.[45] Editions were authorised for publication in Croatian, French, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.[46] She spent a year and a half writing her first children's book, Mama's Sleeping Scarf, because she wanted her daughter's approval.[47] Although written in 2019, it was published in 2023 by HarperCollins under the pseudonym Nwa Grace James,[48] a dedication to her parents, as Nwa means "child of" in Igbo.[48][49] Illustrations for the book were made by Joelle Avelino, a Congolese-Angolan animator.[49] The book tells the story of the connections of generations through family interactions with a head scarf.[47]

Public speaking[edit]

In 2009, Adichie delivered a TED Talk entitled "The Danger of a Single Story."[50] In the talk Adichie expressed her concern that accepting one version of a story perpetrates myths and stereotypes[51] because it fails to recognise the complexities of human life and situations.[52] She argued that under-representation of the layers that make up a person's identity or culture deprives them of their humanity.[51][52] Adichie has continued to reuse the message drawn from the talk in her subsequent speeches, including her address at the Hilton Humanitarian Symposium of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in 2019.[53] On 15 March 2012, Adichie became the youngest person to deliver a Commonwealth Lecture.[54][55] The presentation was given at the Guildhall in London addressing the theme "Connecting Cultures".[55] Adichie said, "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."[56] She stated that literature could build bridges between cultures because it united the imaginations of everyone who read the same books.[57]

Adichie accepted an invitation to speak in London in 2012,[58] at TEDxEuston, because a series of talks focusing on African affairs was being organised by her brother Chuks. He worked in the technology and information development department and she wanted to help him.[50] In her presentation, "We Should All Be Feminists", Adichie stressed the importance of reclaiming the word "feminist"[51] to combat the negative connotations previously associated with it.[59] She said that feminism should be about exploring the intersections of oppression, such as how class, race, gender, and sexuality impact equal opportunities and human rights,[51][50] causing global gender gaps in education, pay, and power.[59] In 2015, Adichie returned to the theme of feminism at the commencement address for Wellesley College and reminded students that they should not allow their ideologies to exclude other ideas and should "minister to the world in a way that can change it. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get your hands dirty way".[51] She has spoken at many commencement ceremonies, including at Williams College (2017),[60] Harvard University (2018),[61] and the American University (2019).[62] Adichie was the first African to speak at Yale University's Class Day, giving a lecture in 2019 which encouraged students to be open to new experiences and ideas and "find a way to marry idealism and pragmatism because there are complicated shades of grey everywhere".[63]

Woman standing at a podium. There is a tablet on the podium from which she is reading.
Adichie at the speaker's podium during the Congreso Futuro [es], Santiago, Chile in 2020

Along with Laszlo Jakab Orsos,[64] Adichie co-curated the 2015 Pen World Voices Festival in New York City.[65] The festival theme was contemporary literature of Africa and its diaspora.[65] She closed the conference with her Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture, which focused on censorship and using one's voice to speak out against injustices.[64] In addressing her audience, she pointed out cultural differences between Nigeria and America, such as the code of silence which in the United States often acts as censorship. People in the United States seem to fear being offensive or disrupting "the careful layers of comfort" they have shielded themselves with, whereas in Nigeria, people expect pain. She also stated that molding a story to fit an existing narrative, such as characterising the Boko Haram's kidnapping of schoolgirls as equal to the Taliban's treatment of women, is a form of censorship which hides the truth that Boko Haram opposes western-style education for anyone.[64] Although she did not speak of her father's recent kidnapping and release, writer Nicole Lee of The Guardian said that the crowd was aware of her personal ordeal, which made her speech "all the more poignant".[64]

In 2016, Adichie was invited to speak about her thoughts on Donald Trump's election to the US Presidency for the BBC's program Newsnight. When she arrived at the studio, she was informed that the format would be a debate between her and R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., a Trump supporter and the editor-in-chief of The American Spectator, a conservative magazine.[29][66] Tempted to walk out of the interview, Adichie decided to continue because she wanted to discuss her views on how economic disenfranchisement had led to Trump's victory.[29] The debate turned adversarial when Tyrrell said "I do not respond emotionally like this lady",[66] and then declared that "Trump hasn't been a racist".[67] Adichie countered his statements and a gave an example citing Trump's statement that Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel could not be impartial in the case Low v. Trump University because of his Mexican heritage.[67] After the debate, she wrote on her Facebook that she felt ambushed by the BBC and that they had "sneakily [pitted her] against a Trump supporter" to create adversarial entertainment. In response, the BBC issued an apology for not informing her of the nature of the interview, but claimed they had designed the program to offer balanced perspectives.[66]

Adichie delivered the 2nd annual Eudora Welty Lecture on 8 November 2017 at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C. The lecture was presented to a sold-out crowd and focused on her development as a writer.[68] That year, she also spoke at the Foreign Affairs Symposium held at Johns Hopkins University. Her talk focused on the fragility of optimism in the face of the current political climate.[29] Adichie and Hillary Clinton delivered the 2018 PEN World Voices Festival, Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at Cooper Union in Manhattan. Although the speech was centered on feminism and censorship, Adichie's questioning of why Clinton's Twitter profile began with "wife" instead of her own accomplishments became the focus of media attention,[69][70][71] prompting Clinton to change her Twitter bio.[71] Later that year, she spoke at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, about breaking the cycles which silence women's voices. She stated that studies had shown that women read literature created by men and women, but men primarily read works by other men. She urged men to begin to read women writers' works to gain an understanding and be able to acknowledge women's struggles in society.[72] In 2019, as part of the Chancellor's Lecture Series, she gave the speech "Writer, Thinker, Feminist: Vignettes from Life" at Vanderbilt University's Langford Auditorium. The speech focused on her development as a storyteller, and her motives for addressing systemic inequalities to create a more inclusive world.[73]

Adichie has been the keynote speaker at numerous global conferences.[74] In 2018, she spoke at the 7th Annual International Igbo Conference, and encouraged the audience to preserve their culture and fight misconceptions and inaccuracies about Igbo heritage.[75] She revealed in her presentation "Igbo bu Igbo" ("Igbo Is Igbo") that she only speaks to her daughter in Igbo, which was the only language her daughter spoke at the age of two.[76] Speaking at the inaugural Gabriel García Márquez Lecture in Cartagena, Colombia in 2019, Adichie addressed violence in the country and urged leaders to focus on educating citizens from childhood to reject violence and sexual exploitation and end violent behaviors. Her speech was given in the Nelson Mandela barrio, one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city, and she encouraged Black women to work with men to change the violent culture and celebrate their African roots.[77] Her keynote address at the 2020 Congreso Futuro [es] (Future Conference) in Santiago, Chile focused on the importance of listening. She said that to become an effective advocate, a person must understand a wide variety of perspectives. She stressed that people become better problem solvers if they learn to listen to people with whom they may not agree, because other points of view help everyone recognise their common humanity.[78] She was the keynote speaker of the 2021 Reykjavik International Literature Festival held in the Háskólbíó cinema at the University of Iceland, and presented the talk In Pursuit of Joy: On Storytelling, Feminism, and Changing My Mind.[79] On 30 November 2022, Adichie delivered the first of the BBC's 2022 Reith Lectures, inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech.[80] Her talk explored how to balance the right to freedom of speech against those who undermine fact-based truths with partisan messaging.[81]

Themes and style[edit]


Adichie, in a 2011 conversation with Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina, stated that the overriding theme of her works was love.[82] Using the feminist argument "The personal is political", love in her works typically is expressed through cultural identity, personal identity, and the human condition, and how these are impacted by social and political conflict.[83] She frequently explores the intersections of class, culture, gender, (post-)imperialism, power, race, and religion.[84] Struggle is a predominant theme throughout African literature,[85] and Adichie's works follow in that tradition by examining families, communities, and relationships.[86] Her explorations go beyond political strife and the struggle for rights, and typically examine what it is to be human.[87] Many of her works deal with how the characters reconcile themselves with the trauma in their lives[88] and how they move from being silenced and voiceless to self-empowered and able to tell their own stories.[89]

Adichie's works, beginning with Purple Hibiscus, generally examine cultural identity.[90] Igbo identity is typically at the forefront of her works, which celebrate Igbo language and culture, and African patriotism, in general.[91] Her writing is an intentional dialogue with the West, intent on reclaiming African dignity and humanity.[82] A recurring theme in Adichie's works is the Biafran War. The civil war was a "defining moment" in the post-colonial history of Nigeria and examining the conflict dramatises the way that the identity of the country was shaped. Her major work on the war, Half of a Yellow Sun highlights how policies, corruption, religious dogmatism, and strife played into the expulsion of the Igbo population and then forced their reintegration into the nation.[92][93] Both actions had consequences, and Adichie presents the war as an unhealed wound, because of the reluctance for political leaders to address the issues that sparked it.[94]

The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, reappears in Adichie's novels to illustrate the transformative nature of education in developing political consciousness, as well as symbolises the stimulation of Pan-African consciousness and a desire for independence in Half of a Yellow Sun. It appeared in both Purple Hibisus and Americanah as the site of resistance to authoritarian rule through civil disobedience and dissent by students.[95] The university is also where one learns the colonial accounts of history and develops the means to contest its distortions through indigenous knowledge,[96] by recognising that colonial literature tells only part of the story and minimises African contributions.[97] Adichie illustrates this in Half of a Yellow Sun, when mathematics instructor Odenigbo, explains to his houseboy Ugwu, that he will learn in school that the Niger River was discovered by a white man named Mungo Park, although the indigenous people had fished the river for generations. But, Odenigbo cautions Ugwu that even though the story of Park's discovery is false, he must use the wrong answer or he will fail his exam.[96]

Adichie's diasporic works consistently examine themes of belonging, adaptation, and discrimination.[98] In her diasporic fiction, this is often shown as an obsession to assimilate and is demonstrated by characters changing their names, [99] a common theme to most of Adiche's short fiction, which is used to point out hypocrisy.[100] By using the theme of immigration, she is able to develop dialogue on how her characters' perceptions and identity are changed by living abroad and encountering different cultural norms.[101] Initially alienated by the customs and traditions of a new place, the characters, such as Ifemelu in Americanah, eventually discover ways to connect with communities in the location.[102] Ifemelu's connections are made through self-exploration, which rather than leading to assimilation of her new culture, lead her to a heightened awareness of being part of the African diaspora,[103] and adoption of a dual perspective which reshapes and transforms her sense of self.[104] Awareness of Blackness as part of identity, initially a foreign concept to Africans upon arriving in the United States,[105] is shown not only in her diasporic works, but also Adichie's feminist tract, Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. In it, she evaluates themes of identity which recur in Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and The Thing Around Your Neck such as stereotypical perceptions of Black women's physical appearance, their hair, and their objectification.[106] Dear Ijeawele stresses the political importance of using African names,[107] rejection of colorism,[108] exercising freedom of expression in how they wear their hair (including rejecting patronising curiosity about it),[109] and avoiding commodification, such as marriageability tests which reduce a woman's worth to that of a prize, seeing only her value as a man's wife.[110] Her women characters repeatedly assertively resist being defined by stereotypes and embody a quest for women's empowerment.[111]

Adichie's works often deal with inter-generational explorations of family units which allow her to examine differing experiences of oppression and liberation. In both Purple Hibiscus and the "The Headstrong Historian", one of the stories included in The Thing Around Your Neck, Adichie examined these themes using the family as a miniature representation of violence for the nation.[112] Female sexuality, both within patriarchal marriage relationships and outside of marriage are frequent themes, which Adichie typically uses to explore romantic complexities and boundaries, although her works do not explore homosexuality. She discusses such things as marital affairs in stories like "Transition to Glory", taboo topics like romantic feelings for clergy in Purple Hibiscus, and seduction of a friend's boyfriend in "Light Skin". Miscarriage,[113] motherhood, and the struggles of womanhood are recurring themes in Adichie's works, and are often examined in relation to Christianity, patriarchy, and social expectation.[114][115][116] For example, in the short story "Zikora", she deals with the interlocking biological, cultural, and political aspects of becoming a mother and expectations placed upon women.[115] The story examines the failure of contraception and an unexpected pregnancy, abandonment by her partner, single motherhood, social pressure, and Zikora's identity crisis, and the various emotions she experiences about becoming a mother.[117]

Adichie's works show a deep interest in humanity and the complexities of the human condition. She repeats themes like forgiveness and betrayal in works such as Half of a Yellow Sun, when Olanna forgives her lover's infidelity or Ifemelu's decision to separate from her boyfriend in Americanah.[83] Her examination of war shines a light on how both sides of any conflict commit atrocities and neither side is blameless for the unfolding violence. Her narrative demonstrates that knowledge and understanding of diverse classes and ethnic groups is necessary to create harmonious multi-ethnic communities.[93] Other forms of violence, like sexual abuse, rape, domestic abuse, and rage are repeated themes in Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and the stories collected in Things Fall Apart.[93][86] Each of these themes are used to symbolise the universality of power or the misuse of power and its impact on and manifestation in society.[118]


I'm not even joking when I say that chocolate is a fundamental part of [my] process of creativity... That perfect in between—not too milky, not too dark. With a bit of hazelnuts. Writing is the love of my life. It's the thing that makes me happiest when it is going well—apart from the people I love...Fiction gives me a transcendent joy [where] I feel as though I am suspended in my fictional walls. Here in Lagos, Nigeria, my desk was made by this furniture maker who's young. It's white with two pullout drawers on either side. On the table itself, I have my laptop and a couple of books. I also happen to have a bottle of a cream liqueur, called Wild Africa Cream. When I'm writing, I don't want any alcohol in my body at all. But when it's not going well, then I'm like, "All right. Maybe we just need to take a swig."

—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, in describing her style of creativity on Times of India.[119]

As a Nigerian, who was educated bilingually, Adichie consciously uses both Igbo and English in her works.[120] Rather than writing in English, she mixes language and speech patterns so that her works speak to a global audience.[91] Igbo phrases are typically shown in italics and followed by an English translation.[121] She uses metaphors, language, and food to trigger sensory experiences in the reader.[98] For example, in Purple Hibiscus, the arrival of a king to challenge colonial and religious leaders symbolises Palm Sunday.[122] In the same book, she uses language references from Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart to stimulate the memories of his works to her readers.[123] Similarly, the name of Kambili, a character in Purple Hibiscus, evokes "i biri ka m biri" ("Live and Let Live"), the title of a song by Igbo musician Oliver De Coque.[124] To describe pre- and post-war conditions, in Half of a Yellow Sun, Adichie begins with a character opening the refrigerator and describes how as the cool air embraced him, he saw oranges, beer, and a "roasted shimmering chicken". This contrasts to the later period in the novel when people are dying of starvation, in which her characters are forced to eat powdered eggs and lizards.[125] She also repeatedly references real places and historic figures, to draw readers into the stories.[126] Adichie deliberately demonstrates the interconnections between cultures by alluding to historic events and well-known personality types,[127] demonstrating conflicts and relationships through interactions between characters.[128] By utilising lived realities, intimate details, and drawing upon the senses, she compels the reader to look at the meaning of events and relationships.[129]

In developing characters, Adichie often exaggerates attitudes to contrast differences between traditional culture and westernisation.[90] Her stories often point out cultural failures, particularly those which leave her characters in a limbo between bad options that have negative impacts.[130] At times, she creates a character as an oversimplified archetype of a particular aspect of cultural behavior to create a foil for a more complex character.[99] According to writer Izuu Nwankwọ, Adichie's choice of character names is a conscious selection used to identify various ethnicities.[131] Most of her characters are given easily-recognisable common names related to the intended ethnicity, such as using Mohammed for a Muslim character.[132] For Igbo characters, she invents names to convey to the reader the aesthetic and political connotations of Igbo naming traditions, which are assigned to depict character traits, personality, and social connections.[133] For example, in Half of a Yellow Sun, the character Ọlanna's name meaning is given in the text as "God's Gold", but Nwankwọ points out that "ọla" means precious and "nna" means father (which can be understood as either God the father or a parent).[131] By shunning popular Igbo names, Adichie intentionally imbues her characters with multi-ethnic, gender plural, and global personas.[134] She typically does not use English names for African characters, and when she does, it is a device to represent negative traits or behaviors.[135]

In contrast to western separation of history into objective and scientific facts and literature into creative imaginings of art, Igbo-Nigerian novels draw on figures from Igbo oral traditions to present truths in the style of historical fiction.[136] The genre utilises the custom of African societies to produce knowledge by revising and owning oral narratives in retelling stories to enable interaction between the storyteller and the community.[137] Stories became communal productions which allowed the past and future the flexibility to encompass more than one truth, by incorporating both informative and creative elements.[138] When the shift was made from oral retelling to the development of writing novels, African novelists used these traditions to contest western distortions of African cultures.[139] Following in these traditions, Adichie's works typically have ambiguous endings, indicating that cross-cultural experiences are in a continuous state of change.[140] As Belgian Africanist Daria Tunca describes,[141] refusal to provide closure "skillfully avoids reproducing" the questionable behaviors which Adichie has highlighted.[140] Adichie breaks with tradition as well, in that in earlier African literature, women writers were often absent from the Nigerian literary canon,[142] and female characters were often overlooked or became background material for male characters who were engaged in the socio-political and economic life of the community.[143] Her style often focuses on strong women and adds gender perspectives to topics previously explored by other authors, such as colonialism, religion, and power relationships.[144][114]

Adichie evaluates major social issues by deconstructing them to explore various interpretations. As an example, she often separates characters into social classes or traditional hierarchies to illustrate social ambiguities, attitudes, contradictions, power structures, restrictions, and roles.[145][146] Her written works acknowledge that men and women experience history differently.[147] By using narratives from characters of different segments of society, she reiterates her message in her TED talk, "The Danger of a Single Story", that there is no single truth about the past.[148] Scholar Silvana Carotenuto argues that by drawing on themes which have had global impacts on shared history, Adichie is compelling her readers to recognise their own responsibility for everyone else and the injustice which exists in the world.[118] According to Nigerian literary scholar and researcher Stanley Ordu, building unity and finding wholeness by removing oppression from all humans to effect change is a facet of African womanism.[149] Ordu classifies Adichie's feminism as womanist because her analysis of patriarchal systems goes beyond sexist treatment of women and anti-male biases, looking instead at socio-economic, political, and racial struggles women face to survive and cooperate with men.[150] For example, in Purple Hibiscus the character Auntie Ifeoma embodies a womanist world-view through coaching and encouraging all family members to work as a team and with consensus, so that each person's talents are utilised to their highest potential.[151] By focusing on the group as a collective unit, she promotes not only empowerment, but a focus on each team member's well-being.[152]

In both her written works and public speaking, Adichie incorporates keen observation and humour.[51][153] To make complex ideas easier to understand, she uses anecdotes,[51] and often employs irony, and satire to underscore a particular point of view.[153] Adichie often watches the hustlers, hawkers, and professionals on the streets of Lagos, taking note of the cultural diversity in the city, which includes Igbo and Yoruba cultural expressions. These observations are incorporated into her writing and lectures, to represent the diverse "showiness of the Nigerian national character", and spirit, resilience, and initiative of its people.[54] Adichie has increasingly developed a contemporary Pan-Africanist view of gender issues, becoming less interested in the way the West sees Africa and more interested in how Africa sees itself.[154] She commonly breaks the unwritten rule to memorise her material for her speeches, and according to South African writer Sisonke Msimang, Adiche is "rebellious...she read[s] her talk because she [is] not the sort who would be pushed to adhere to silly rules".[155]

Critical reception[edit]

Luke Ndidi Okolo, a lecture a Nnamdi Azikiwe University said, "Adichie's novel treats clear and lofty subjects and themes. But the subjects and themes, however, are not new to African novels. The remarkable difference of excellence in Chimamanda Adichie's "Purple Hibiscus" is the stylistic variation  – her choice of linguistic and literary features, and the pattern of application of the features in such a wondrous juxtaposition of characters' reasoning and thought."[156] Adichie's work has garnered significant critical acclaim and numerous awards.[157][158] Book critics such as Daria Tunca wrote that Adichie's work is considerably relevant and stated that she was a major voice in the Third Generation of Nigerian writers,[140] while Izuu Nwankwọ called her invented Igbo naming scheme as an "artform", which she has perfected in her works.[134] He lauded her ability to insert Igbo language and meaning into an English language text without disrupting the flow or distorting the storyline.[159] Scholars such as Ernest Emenyonu, one of the most prominent scholars of Igbo literature,[160] said that Adichie was "the leading and most engaging voice of her era" and he called her "Africa's preeminent storyteller".[161] Toyin Falola, a professor of history hailed her along other writers, as "intellectual heroes".[162] Her memoir, Notes On Grief was positively praised by Kirkus Reviews as "an elegant, moving contribution to the literature of death and dying."[163] Leslie Gray Streeter of The Independent said that Adichie's thoughts on grief "puts a welcome, authentic voice to this most universal of emotions, which is also one of the most universally avoided."[164] She has been widely recognised as "the literary daughter of Chinua Achebe."[165] Jane Shilling of the Daily Telegraph called her "one who makes storytelling seem as easy as birdsong".[166]

Adichie has gained wide praise for her speeches and lectures.[167][51][50] Journalist Shreya Ila Anasuya described Adichie's public speaking as delightful and articulate, noting that her timing allowed sufficient pausing for the audience response, before she continued by distilling "her wisdom into the simplest and most compassionate of telling".[51] Critic Erica Wagner called Adichie a "star", stating that she spoke with fluency and power, exuding authority and confidence. She called "The Danger of a Single Story" an "accessible essay on how we might see the world through another's eyes".[50] Media and communications professor Erika M. Behrmann, who reviewed Adichie's TEDxEuston Talk, "We Should All Be Feminists" praised her as a "gifted storyteller", who was able to intimately connect with her audience. Behrmann stated that the talk used language that made it relatable to children and adults, giving a basic foundation for students to learn about feminist ideas and issues, as well as learning about how gender is socially-constructed by culture. She also said that Adichie demonstrated that gender inequality is a global challenge, and offered solutions to combat disparities by focussing less on gender roles and more on developing skills based upon ability and interests.[59] However, Behrmann criticised the lack of discussion in the talk on the intersectional aspects of peoples' identities and Adichie's reliance on binary terms (boy/girl, man/woman, male/female), which left "little room to imagine and explore how transgender and genderqueer" people contribute to or are impacted by feminism.[58] Emenyonu said that her "talks, blogs, musings on social media, essays and commentaries, workshop mentoring for budding writers and lecture circuit discourses...expand and define her mission as a writer".[168] Scholar Grace Musila said Adiche's brand encompasses her reputation as a writer, public figure, and fashionista which expanded her reach and the legitimacy of her ideas far beyond academic circles.[169]

In 2002, Adichie was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing for her story, "You in America."[4][170] She also won the BBC World Service Short Story Competition for "That Harmattan Morning", while her short story "The American Embassy" won the 2003 O. Henry Award and the David T. Wong International Short Story Prize from PEN International.[171] Her book, Purple Hibiscus was well received with positive reviews from book critics.[15][31] the book sold well and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the Best Book (2005), Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction (2004),[171][31] Half of a Yellow Sun garnered acclaim including winning the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2007,[172] the International Nonino Prize (2009),[173][174] and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.[171] Her book story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck was the runner-up to the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for 2010.[175] One story from the book, "Ceiling" was included in The Best American Short Stories 2011.[176] Americanah was listed among the "10 Best Books of 2013" by The New York Times,[171][177] and won the National Book Critics Circle Award (2014),[15][178][179] and the One City One Book (2017).[180] Her book Dear Ijeawele, translated in French as Chère Ijeawele, ou un manifeste pour une éducation féministe won the Le Grand Prix de l'Héroïne Madame Figaro in the category of best non-fiction book in 2017.[181][182]

Adichie was a finalist of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction (2014).[183] She won the Barnard Medal of Distinction (2016),[184] and the W. E. B. Du Bois Medal (2022), the highest honour from Harvard University.[185] She was listed in The New Yorkers "20 Under 40" authors in 2010, and the Africa39 under 40 authors during the Hay Festival in 2014,[171] She was also among the "100 Most Influential People" by Time magazine in 2015,[186] and The Africa Report's list of the "100 Most Influential Africans" in 2019.[187] In 2018, she was selected as the winner of the PEN Pinter Prize, which recognises writers whose body of literary works uncovers truth through critical analysis of life and society. The award recipient chooses the winner of the companion prize, the Pinter International Writer of Courage Award, which Adichie named as Waleed Abulkhair, a Saudi Arabian lawyer and human rights activist.[188][189] The Women's Prize for Fiction, formerly known as the Orange Prize, selected 25 candidates for its Winner of Winners in honour of its 25th anniversary celebrations in 2020. The public chose Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun for the award.[190]

In 2017, Adichie was elected as one of 228 new members to be inducted into the 237th class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the highest honours for intellectuals in the United States as well as the second Nigerian to be given the honour after Wole Soyinka.[191] As of March 2022, Adichie had received 16 honourary degrees from universities[192] including Johns Hopkins University (2016), Haverford College (2017), the University of Edinburgh (2017),[171] American University (10 May 2018), Georgetown University (18 May 2018), Yale University (20 May 2018), Rhode Island School of Design (June 2019),[193] Eastern Connecticut State University, Williams College, Duke University, Amherst College (2018), Bowdoin College, SOAS University of London, Northwestern University, and the Catholic University of Louvain (2022).[194] President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari selected her to be honoured as a recipient of the Order of the Federal Republic in 2022,[195] but Adichie rejected the national distinction.[196]

Views and controversy[edit]

Feminist fashion[edit]

Front cover of a print magazine
Adichie on the cover of Ms. in 2014

Adichie, in a 2014 article written for,[197] described that she became aware of a Western social norm that "women who wanted to be taken seriously were supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance."[198] The western concept contrasted with her upbringing in Nigeria, because in West Africa the attention that a person pays to their fashion and style correlates to the amount prestige and respectability they will be given by society.[199] She began to recognise that people were judged for the way that they dressed. Particularly women writers wrote disparagingly about or trivialised attention to fashion,[200] depicting woman who enjoyed fashion and makeup as silly, shallow, or vain and without any depth.[201] Acknowledging the relationship between beauty, fashion, and style, and socio-political inequalities, Adichie became committed to promoting body positivity as a means to acquire agency.[199][200] She began to focus on body politics, taking particular pride in her African features such as her skin colour, hair texture, and curves,[202] and wearing bold designs featuring bright colours to make a statement about self-empowerment.[199]

Adichie was included in the 2016 Vanity Fair's International Best-Dressed Lists, and cited Michelle Obama as her styling idol.[203][204] That year, Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first female creative director of French fashion company Dior, featured a tee-shirt with the title of Adichie's TED talk, "We Should All Be Feminists" in her debut collection.[1][201] Adichie was surprised to learn that Dior had never had a woman head its creative division and agreed to a collaboration with Chiuri, who invited her as an honoured guest to sit in the front-row of the company's spring runway show during the Paris Fashion Week.[1][201][205] Scholar Matthew Lecznar, stated that Adichie often challenges feminist stereotypes through references to fashion. He called her allowing Dior to feature her text a skillful way to use various media forms to not only deliver political messaging, but also to develop her image as a multi-faceted intellectual, literary, and fashionable "transmedia phenomenon".[206] She became the face of No.7, a makeup brand division of British drugstore retailer Boots.[207] In her 2016 Facebook post Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, Adichie argued that minimising femininity and its expression through fashion and makeup is "part of a culture of sexism".[204]

On 8 May 2017, Adichie announced her "Wear Nigerian" campaign on her Facebook page. The government of Nigeria had recently launched a "Buy Nigerian to Grow the Naira", after the Nigerian naira experienced a devaluation.[208][209] She set up an Instagram account which was managed by her nieces Chisom and Amaka,[208] and gained around 600,000 followers.[210] Her goal was to help protect Nigeria's cultural heritage by showcasing the quality of craftsmanship and use of innovative hand-made techniques, materials and textiles being used by Nigerian designers.[211] Just as important was the idea of persuading Nigerians to buy local products, as opposed to purchasing garments abroad, as had been done in the past.[210] The posts on her page do not focus on her private life, but instead highlight her professional appearances all over the world, in an effort to show that style has the power to push boundaries and have global impact.[74] She won a Shorty Award in 2018 for her Wear Nigerian Campaign,[212] and was selected as one of 15 women in 2019, to appear on the cover of the British Vogue, guest-edited by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.[213]

In a 2021 discussion at Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Adichie spoke with the former Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and journalists Miriam Meckel and Léa Steinacker. They discussed that for democracy to survive, people needed to preserve their traditions and history, be informed about intolerance, and learn to accept diversity. Adichie said that she often uses fashion to educate people about diversity and Merkel confirmed that it could serve as a cultural bridge to bring people together globally.[214]


Although Adichie was raised as a Catholic, she considers her views, especially those on feminism, to sometimes conflict with her religion. In a 2017 event at Georgetown University, she stated that differences in ideology between Catholic and Church Missionary Society leaders caused divisions in Nigerian society during her childhood and she left the church around the time of the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI.[215] As sectarian tensions in Nigeria arose between Christians and Muslims in 2012, she urged leaders to preach messages of peace and togetherness.[216] Adichie stated that her relationship to Catholicism is complicated because she identifies culturally as Catholic, but feels that the focus of the church on money and guilt are not in-line with her values.[217] She acknowledged that the birth of her daughter and election of Pope Francis drew her back to the Catholic faith and a decision to raise her child as Catholic.[215] But by 2021, Adichie stated that she was a nominal Catholic and only attended mass when she could find a progressive community focused on uplifting humanity. She clarified that "I think of myself as agnostic and questioning".[217] That year, her reflections on Pope Francis's encyclical Fratelli tutti were published in Italian in the 5 July edition of the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.[218][219] In her article, "Sognare come un'unica umanitàs" ("Dreaming as a Single Humanity"), Adichie recalled being berated at her mother's funeral for having criticised the church's focus on money, but she also acknowledged that Catholic rituals gave her solace during her mourning. She stated that Pope Francis' call in Fratelli tutti for recognition of everyone as part of the human family and for their responsibility to care for each other allowed her to re-imagine what the church might be.[218]

LGBT rights[edit]

Adichie is an activist and supporter of LGBT rights in Africa, who has been vocal in her support for LGBT rights in Nigeria.[167][220] She has questioned whether consensual homosexual conduct between adults rises to the standard of a crime, as crime requires a victim and harm to society. When Nigeria passed an anti-homosexuality bill in 2014, she was among the Nigerian writers who objected to the law, calling it unconstitutional, unjust, and "a strange priority to a country with so many real problems". She stated that adults expressing affection for each other did not cause harm to society, but that the law would "lead to crimes of violence".[221] Adichie was close friends with Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina, who she credited with demystifying and humanising homosexuality when he publicly came out in 2014.[222][223] Writer Bernard Dayo said that Adichie's eulogy to Wainaina when he died in 2019, perfectly captured the spirit of the "bold LGBTQ activist [of] the African literary world where homosexuality is still treated as a fringe concept."[224]

Since 2017, Adichie has been repeatedly accused of transphobia,[225] initially for saying that "my feeling is trans women are trans women" in an interview aired on Channel 4 in Britain.[226][220] She apologised, and acknowledged that trans-women need support and that they have experienced severe oppression, but she also stated that the differences between transgender women and other women's experiences are different and one could acknowledge those differences without invalidating or diminishing either's lived experience.[220] After the apology, Adichie attempted to clarify her statement,[220][d] by stressing that girls are socialised in ways that damage their self-worth, which have lasting impact throughout their lives, whereas boys benefit from male privilege that give them life advantages, before transitioning.[220][228] Some accepted her apology,[220] and others rejected it as a trans-exclusionary radical feminist view that biological sex determines gender.[228]

The controversy emerged again in 2020 when Adichie voiced support for J. K. Rowling's article on gender and sex, in an interview in the British newspaper, The Guardian, calling the essay "perfectly reasonable".[229][230] That interview sparked a Twitter backlash from critics of her opinion, which included a former graduate of one of Adichie's writing workshops, Akwaeke Emezi.[231][230] In response, Adichie penned It Is Obscene: A True Reflection in Three Parts and posted it on her website in June 2021, criticising the use of social media to air out grievances.[232][225] The following month, students who were members of the LGBT community at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, boycotted her public lecture on their campus.[225] Adichie admitted in an interview with Otosirieze Obi-Young in September that she was "deeply hurt" by the backlash and began a period of self-reflection on her biases, informed by reading anything she could find to help her understand trans issues.[15]

In late 2022, she faced further criticism for her views after another interview with The Guardian when she said, "So somebody who looks like my brother – he says, 'I'm a woman', and walks into the women's bathroom, and a woman goes, 'You're not supposed to be here', and she's transphobic?"[226][233][234] The interview, according to the LGBT magazine PinkNews shows that Adichie "remains insensitive to the nuances or sensitivities of the ongoing fight for trans rights" and thus, criticised her for perpetuating "harmful rhetoric about trans people".[234] Cheryl Stobie of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, said that Adichie supported an "exclusionary conceptualisation of gender".[235] B. Camminga, a postdoctoral fellow at the African Centre for Migration & Society at the University of the Witwatersrand stated that Adichie's fame led to her comments on trans-women being elevated and the voices of other African women, both trans and cis, being silenced.[236] According to Camminga, Adichie disregarded her own advice in "The Danger of a Single Story" by telling a "single story of trans existence".[237]


5 women painted on a wall
l-r: Frida Kahlo, Emma Goldman, Adichie, Valentina Tereshkova, and Angela Davis on a feminist wall mural in Madrid, 2021.

Larissa MacFarquhar of The New Yorker stated that Adichie is "regarded as one of the most vital and original novelists of her generation".[13] Her works have been translated into more than 30 languages.[68] Obi-Young pointed out in his cover story about Adichie for the Nigerian cultural magazine Open Country Mag in September 2021, that "her novels...broke down a wall in publishing. Purple Hibiscus proved that there was an international market for African realist fiction post-Achebe [and] Half of a Yellow Sun showed that that market could care about African histories".[15] In an earlier article published in Brittle Paper, he stated that Half of a Yellow Sun's paperback release in 2006 reached 500,000 copies sold, the benchmark of commercial success for a book, by October 2009 in the UK alone.[238] Her novel Americanah reached sales of 500,000 copies in the US within two years of its 2013 release.[238][239] As of 2022, "The Danger of a Single Story" had received more than 27 million views.[240] Richard Assheton, a critic at The Times confirmed that, as of 1 September 2023, the talk is one of the top 25 most viewed TED Talks of all time.[241]

According to Lisa Allardice, a journalist writing for The Guardian, Adichie became the "poster girl for modern feminism after her 2012 TED Talk 'We Should All Be Feminists' went stratospheric and was distributed in book form to every 16-year-old in Sweden".[229] Adichie has become "a global feminist icon" and a recognised "public thinker" per journalist Lauren Alix Brown.[242] Parts of Adichie's TEDx Talk were sampled in the song "Flawless" by singer Beyoncé on 13 December 2013. When asked in an NPR interview about that, Adichie responded that "anything that gets young people talking about feminism is a very good thing."[243] She later refined the statement in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, saying that she liked and admired Beyoncé and gave permission to use her text because the singer "reached many people who would otherwise probably never have heard the word feminism." But, she went on to state that the sampling caused a media frenzy with requests from newspapers world-wide who were keen to report on her new-found fame because of Beyoncé. Adichie said, "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". She was disappointed by the media portrayal, but acknowledged that "Thanks to Beyoncé, my life will never be the same again."[244] Adichie was outspoken against critics who later questioned the singer's credentials as a feminist because she uses her sexuality to "pander to the male gaze". In defence of Beyoncé, Adichie said: "Whoever says they're feminist is bloody feminist."[245]

Scholar Matthew Lecznar said that Adichie's stature as "one of most prominent writers and feminists of the age" allowed her to use her celebrity "to demonstrate the power of dress and empower people from diverse contexts to embrace [fashion]...which has everything to do with the politics of identity".[246] Academics Floriana Bernardi and Enrica Picarelli credited her support of the Nigerian fashion industry with helping put Nigeria "at the forefront" of the movement to use fashion as a globally-recognised political mechanism of empowerment.[247] Toyin Falola, a professor of history, in an evaluation of scholarship in Nigeria, criticised the policy of elevating academic figures prematurely. He argued that scholarship, particularly in the humanities, should challenge policies and processes to strengthen the social contract between citizens and government. He suggested that the focus should shift from recognising scholars who merely influenced other scholars to the acknowledgement of intellectuals who use their talents to benefit the state and serve as mentors to Nigerian youth. Adichie was among those he felt qualified as "intellectual heroes", who had "push[ed] forward the boundaries of social change".[162]

Adichie's book Half of a Yellow Sun was adapted into a film of the same title directed by Biyi Bandele in 2013.[248] In 2018, a painting of Adichie was included in a wall mural at the Municipal Sport Center in the Concepción barrio of Madrid, along with fourteen other historically influential women. The fifteen women were selected by members of the neighborhood to give a visible representation of the role of women in history and to serve as a symbol of equality. The neighborhood residents defeated a move by conservative politicians to remove the mural in 2021 through a petition drive of collected signatures.[249]

Selected works[edit]


  • ——— (1997). Decisions (poetry). London: Minerva Press. ISBN 978-1-86106-422-6.
  • ——— (1998). For Love of Biafra (play). Ibadan: Spectrum Books. ISBN 978-978-029-032-0.
  • ——— (2003). Purple Hibiscus (novel). London: 4th Estate. ISBN 978-0-00-718988-5
  • ——— (2006). Half of a Yellow Sun (novel). London: 4th Estate. ISBN 978-0-00-720028-3.
  • ——— (2009). The Thing Around Your Neck (short-story collection). London: 4th Estate. ISBN 978-0-00-730621-3.
  • ——— (2013). Americanah (novel). New York City: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-307-27108-2.
  • ——— (2014). "We Should All Be Feminists" (essay). London: 4th Estate. ISBN 978-0-00-811527-2. (excerpt in New Daughters of Africa; edited by Margaret Busby, 2019)[250]
  • ——— (2017). "Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions" (essay). London: 4th Estate. ISBN 978-0-00-827570-9.
  • ——— (2021). Notes on Grief (memoir/personal essay). London: 4th Estate. ISBN 978-0-593-32080-8.
  • ——— (2023). Mama's Sleeping Scarf (children picture book). London/New York: HarperCollins Children's Books/Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-00-855007-3.

Short fiction[edit]




  1. ^ CHI-mə-MAHN-də əng-GOH-zee ə-DEE-chee-ay Adichie's name has been pronounced a variety of ways in English. This transcription attempts to best approximate the Igbo pronunciation for English-speaking readers.
  2. ^ In translation, the Igbo name "Chimamanda" means "my spirit is unbreakable" or "My God cannot fail".[7]
  3. ^ Adichie's father died of kidney failure in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic,[17] and her mother died in 2021.[5]
  4. ^ B. Camminga reprinted Adichie's Facebook post as, "I said, in an interview, that trans women are trans women, that they are people who, having been born male, benefited from the privileges that the world affords men, and that we should not say that the experience of women born female is the same as the experience of trans women.... I think the impulse to say that trans women are women just like women born female are women comes from a need to make trans issues mainstream. Because by making them mainstream, we might reduce the many oppressions they experience.... 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. Not merely because of the violence they experience but because they are equal human beings deserving to be what they are".[227]


  1. ^ a b c Brockes 2017.
  2. ^ Adichie 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Nwankwọ 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d Anya 2005.
  5. ^ a b c d e This Day 2021.
  6. ^ Luebering 2024.
  7. ^ Tunca 2010, p. 300.
  8. ^ Akinyoade 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e Mullane 2014.
  10. ^ Mwakikagile 2001, p. 27.
  11. ^ a b The Sun 2020.
  12. ^ a b c The Sun 2019.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l MacFarquhar 2018.
  14. ^ a b Martin 2014.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Obi-Young 2021.
  16. ^ Adichie 2006.
  17. ^ Broom 2021.
  18. ^ a b Murray 2007.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g Tunca 2011.
  20. ^ a b c Business Day 2016.
  21. ^ Agbo 2018b.
  22. ^ a b c d e Braimah 2018.
  23. ^ Adichie 2000.
  24. ^ Tunca 2010, pp. 297–298.
  25. ^ Krieger 2015.
  26. ^ Irvine 2008.
  27. ^ Okachie 2011.
  28. ^ Chutel 2016.
  29. ^ a b c d Pearce 2017.
  30. ^ Dube 2019, pp. 222, 227.
  31. ^ a b c d Obi-Young 2018.
  32. ^ Busby 2017.
  33. ^ a b McGrath 2006.
  34. ^ Madueke 2019, p. 49.
  35. ^ Kirkus Reviews 2009.
  36. ^ Forna 2009.
  37. ^ Fresh Air 2013.
  38. ^ a b Day 2013.
  39. ^ Ememyonu 2017, p. 3.
  40. ^ Greenberg 2017.
  41. ^ Bhuta 2018, p. 319.
  42. ^ Law 2020.
  43. ^ Flood 2021a.
  44. ^ Lozada 2021.
  45. ^ Diario de Sevilla 2020.
  46. ^ Foreign Rights Catalog 2021, p. 109.
  47. ^ a b Krug 2003.
  48. ^ a b Obi-Young 2022.
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See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Sarantou, K. (2019). Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. United States: Cherry Lake Publishing.ISBN 9781534146976
  • Of This Our Country: Acclaimed Nigerian Writers on the Home, Identity and Culture They Know. (2021). United Kingdom: HarperCollins Publishers.ISBN 9780008469283
  • Onyebuchi, Tochi (2021). (S)kinfolk: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah. United States: Fiction Advocate. ISBN 9780999431696
  • Ojo, Akinleye Ayinuola (2018). "Discursive Construction of Sexuality and Sexual Orientations in Chimamanda Adichie's Americanah". Journal of English Studies. 7. Ibadan, Nigeria.

External links[edit]