Known for her thought-provoking and inspirational writing, Adichie was thrust into the limelight by Purple Hibiscus which she published in 2003. She followed it up with another sensational novel, Half of a Yellow Sun in 2006 and The Thing Around Your Neck in 2009. She recently released her last book, Americanah. She lets viewers into her world and talks about how she is pioneering the way for a new generation of Nigerian writers, what inspires her work, and her plans to make an impact in her country.
Born in Enugu in September 1977, the novelist grew up in the university town of Nsukka in south-eastern Nigeria. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria (UNN) for a year and a half before she left Nigeria for the United States, where she obtained a degree in communications and political science in 2001.
In 2003, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, she received a Master of Arts in African studies from Yale University.
In 2008, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also been awarded a 2011 to 2012 fellowship by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.
Her story, “That Harmattan Morning” was selected as joint winner of the BBC Short Story Awards in 2003, and she won the O. Henry prize for “The American Embassy”. She also won the David T. Wong International Short Story Prize 2002/2003 (PEN Centre Award), for “Half of a Yellow Sun”.
Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (2005). But “Half of a Yellow Sun” finally won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction.