How to pronounce Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Chim-muh-MAHN-duh en-GOH-zee ah-DEECH-ee-(ay) The “ay” is soft, not quite a diphthong.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born
in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Abba, in Anambra State, but grew up in the
university town of Nsukka where she attended primary and secondary schools and
briefly studied Medicine and Pharmacy. She then moved to the United States to
attend college, graduating summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State with a
major in Communication and a minor in Political Science. She holds a Masters
degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and a Masters degree in African
Studies from Yale.
Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was also short-listed for the Orange Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and long-listed for the Booker Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in Granta, Prospect, and The Iowa Review among other literary journals, and she received an O. Henry Prize in 2003. She was a 2005-2006 Hodder Fellow at Princeton, where she taught Introductory Fiction.
Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, 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.
Her collection of short stories, The Thing around Your Neck, was published in 2009.
In 2009 she said that her next major literary project will focus on the Nigerian immigrant experience in the United States. In 2010 she was listed in The New Yorker's "20 Under 40" Fiction Issue. She divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.
This biography was last updated on 10/10/2012.
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What led you to write a book about the Nigeria-Biafra war?
I wrote this novel because I wanted to write about love and war, because I lost both grandfathers in the Nigeria-Biafra war, because the war changed the cause of Igbo history, because Biafra is still an incredibly potent word in Nigeria today, because many of the issues that led to the war remain unresolved, because my father has tears in his eyes when he speaks of losing his father, and my mother has never spoken at length about losing her father, because almost every Igbo person alive in the 1960s was affected by the pre-war massacres, because colonialism makes me angry, because the thought of the egos of organizations and men leading to the unnecessary deaths of children makes me angry, because I think we are in danger of forgetting.
I have always been fascinated by Biafra. I have always wanted to write about it. It was not just because my parents told so many stories of how they lived through the Nigeria-Biafra war but because I realized how central Biafra was to my history. Because I grew up in the shadow of Biafra.
Given that, at the time of the war, you hadnt yet been born, what sort of research did you do to prepare for ...
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