Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Portrait Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
© Hartwig Klappert

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, as the daughter of a professor of mathematics and a university administrator, and grew up in the university town of Nsukka. She first studied medicine and pharmacy in Nigeria for a year and a half and then moved to the USA, where she graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 2001 with degrees in communications and political science, completed a course in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, was a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, a Radcliffe fellow at Harvard University, and completed a master’s in African studies at Yale University in 2008.

In 1998 she wrote the play »For Love of Biafra«. In 2002 she won the BBC World Short Story Awards for »That Harmattan Morning«. Shortly thereafter, Adichie débuted as a novelist with »Purple Hibiscus« (2003), which begins with a quote from Chinua Achebe’s »Things Fall Apart« and was praised by »DIE ZEIT« as a small masterpiece »that can bring the African continent and especially the nation of Nigeria into the consciousness of European readers«. The story, told from the perspective of an adolescent girl, is about the life of a well-to-do family, although the father appears to the outside world as critical of the system, but harasses his own family with religious obsessions and threatens them with violence. In her award-winning second novel »Half of a Yellow Sun« (2006), whose title alludes to the flag of the short-lived nation Biafra, she deals with the time before and during the civil war in Nigeria in the 1960s. The material was filmed by Biyi Bandele in 2014. Adichie’s third novel »Americanah« (2013; German 2014) tells of a love story in Nigeria in the 1990s. Adichie made her name as a feminist with the TED talk »We Should All Be Feminists« (2012), which pop singer Beyoncé Knowles used in her song »Flawless«. The central proposition is: »Feminist: A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.« Her manifesto, together with four short stories, was translated into German under the title »Mehr Feminismus!« (2016).

Adichie’s novels have been translated into 37 languages and received numerous awards. She received honorary doctorates from various US universities, was named an honorary member by the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2017, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The author lives in Nigeria, where she teaches creative writing, and in the USA.