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Nigeria : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a writer committed to the feminist cause

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a committed Nigerian writer. Her work puts the feminist cause in the spotlight. Portrait.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a committed Nigerian writer. Born in Enugu, she grew up in Nsukka, southeast Nigeria. During her childhood, her father taught statistics at the University of Nigeria (UNN), while her mother worked as head of the schooling office at the same institution. It is at that very university that she first studied medicine and pharmacology for a year and a half.

At the age of 19, she left Nigeria and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she studied communication and political science at Drexel University. She then joined Eastern Connecticut State University in Coventry to pursue the same specialty and get closer to her sister, who was practicing medicine there at that time. In 2001, she graduated from university with honors. Attracted by writing, she then took a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 2003.

And it wasn’t long before the distinctions started pouring in. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), was selected for the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize. Three years later, her second book Half Of A Yellow Sun earned her the same Orange Prize. In 2009, her collection of short stories The Thing Around Your Neck was published. In 2012, she was noticed through a deeply committed speech entitled “We should all be feminists” during a Tedx event. In 2013, her fourth book Americanah was marked by this humanist commitment. It recounts the path of a young Nigerian who moved to the United States to study and faced racism and discrimination. 

More recently, in 2017, she published Dear Ijeawele, which presents a feminist education in fifteen points. She suggests these points should be taught from an early age. The book quickly became a real phenomenon and was translated into 20 languages. It was also used by Beyoncé in her title Flawless and the title was printed by Dior on T-shirts. The same year, she received one of the highest intellectual honors in the United States, since she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Yassine Benslimane

Africa Women Experts