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Author Profile: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Each month, we research our authors so that you can learn more about their background and how their stories came to life.



Where she comes from & where she is now: Adichie was born and raised in Nigeria.  She currently divides her time between Nigeria and the United States.

Where she studied: Adichie began her studies with a year and a half at the University of Nigeria, studying medicine and pharmacy.  She then moved to Nigeria to study communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Adichie transferred from Drexel to Eastern Connecticut State University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2001.  She completed her master's degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University in 2003 and earned her Master of Arts degree in African Studies from Yale University in 2008.  

You might know her from: Adichie's work has received a myriad of accolades.  In 2008, she was awarded a MacArthur fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards for individuals who have demonstrated "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction."  This award is commonly referred to as a "genius grant."  Adichie's novel Purple Hibiscus, published in 2003, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.  Half of a Yellow Sun, published in 2006, won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and a New York Times Notable Book.  Her third novel, Americanah, published in 2013, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named one of The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of 2013. It was also included in the New York Times list of The New Vanguard: 15 novels by women that are shaping literature in the 21st century.

When’s she’s not writing: Adichie and her family divide their time between the US and Nigeria, where she teaches writing workshops.

Adichie on writing: “I don’t start out writing to challenge stereotypes. I think that can be as dangerous as starting out to “prove” stereotypes. And I say “dangerous” because fiction that starts off that way often ends up being contrived, burdened by its mission. I do think that simply writing in an emotionally truthful way automatically challenges the single story because it humanizes and complicates. And my constant reminder to myself is to be truthful.” - Adichie

There’s so much more to know: We Should All Be Feminists began as a TED talk.  Watch it here.