Friday, June 29, 2007

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Hailed as Africa's "it girl" by Elissa Schappell and Rob Spillmann in the much-maligned July issue of Vanity Fair, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has already written two acclaimed novels while yet to celebrate her 30th birthday. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, draws loosely on her own childhood growing up in the university town of Nsukka in eastern Nigeria. Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, is built around the Nigerian civil war of the late 1960s.

Miss Adichie impresses one as a vivacious and yet extremely thoughtful and sensitive young woman in her many interviews. Interviewed by Wale Adebanwi for Nigeria Village Square in 2005, Chimamanda politely corrected Mr. Adebanwi regarding his mistaken assumptions drawn from Purple Hibiscus. In the same breath, however, she expresses a reluctance to explain her fiction and a respect for multiple interpretations by her readers.

Another 2005 interview
, posted on Chimamanda's website by Daria Tunca, explores her relationship to her generation of Nigerians and to great Nigerian writers such as Chinua Achebe. A recent profile by Marie Arana in the Washington Post shows a humble and mature woman who is willing to let slip personal recollections which are not altogether flattering. Chmamanda relates that her sister's Igbo nickname for her was agadi nwanyi, meaning "old woman."

I must admit that I am quite tardy in my own discovery of Chimamanda's fiction. Half of a Yellow Sun was awarded this year's Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction back in June, as recognized so eloquently by African blogger Koluki.

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14 Comments:

At 11:46 AM , Anonymous caretaker said...

Despite the incessant negative publicity on Nigeria, several Nigerians have made the headlines lately for remarkable exploits. Are we witnessing a turn-around from the often negative media publicity?

 
At 11:49 AM , Blogger HollyGL said...

What an amazing woman. I'm so glad her depth of talent, and wise soul, is receiving recognition.

 
At 12:21 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

Imnakoya: Nigerians themselves generate a great deal of the negative publicity, do they not? It is important to celebrate all of the good things about Nigeria, particularly the music, art, and literature.

hollygl: Like a true Nigerian, Chimamanda does lament in one of these interviews that all of these awards and accolades do not come with much in the way of cash prizes. So she is definitely living in the material world with all of her great ideals and hopes for her country.

 
At 12:30 PM , Blogger so-obscure said...

Nigeria as a nation has never been short of sound minded and intelligent people...its just that 'good news' is no news in most cases...

Miss Adichie is somewhat fortunate that her good and hard work has come to recognition...we all wish her well.

 
At 5:43 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

so-obscure: Thanks for that comment and for reading my blog! I might add that sometimes there is "good news" about Nigeria which is fabricated. It is important that we say good things about the good people.

 
At 8:16 PM , Blogger pamelastitch said...

HELLO,
JUST DROPPED BY TO SAY HIE. SAW YOU ON THE AFRICAN LOFT. Hmm, what do you mean by fabricated??


pammy

 
At 8:29 PM , Blogger pamelastitch said...

Personally, i am glad that many nigerians are stepping up to the plate and getting their voice heard.

There are a lot of Nigerians who are doing a lot of things and making changes in THIS country but we do not hear of them on national scale...we just read about them in black owned newspapers and magazines - which is completely ludicrous and wrong!!!

The comment about fabrication to be quite frank, i find seriously offensive as you will if i had said that many "good things we hear about americans" are COMPLETELY fabricated....

peace out,
pammy

 
At 12:58 AM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

Pamela: You are justified in taking offense at my flippant comment. I readily concede that the media here in the United States also fabricate. We certainly obsess over minor figures such as Paris Hilton. It is always best to think positively about everyone and everything one experiences.

 
At 2:12 AM , Blogger pamelastitch said...

lol!!!

Thank you...

:)

take care!!!

pammy

 
At 10:59 AM , Blogger Koluki said...

Thanks for the mention. I also came a bit latish to the much talked about July issue of Vanity Fair, which I bought a few minutes ago, only to find here that it can actually be read on the net!
But anyway, it's something worth keeping (I hope).

Rgds.

 
At 1:13 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

I bought a copy as well. I had read most of it in a weekend by the time that I left it with my father.

I love your icon! A sculpture from ______ ?

 
At 3:29 PM , Blogger Koluki said...

Sorry Don, only saw your question now. It's a sculpture from ancient Mali dated circa 1100-1200.

 
At 4:36 PM , Blogger Don Thieme said...

Cool! Just yesterday I checked "Half of a Yellow Sun" out of the public library here.

 
At 2:02 PM , Anonymous gasoline said...

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