In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Body of Work
  • General Overviews
  • Bibliography

African Studies Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Lily Mabura
  • LAST REVIEWED: 17 August 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 September 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0191


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (b. 15 September 1977) is a prominent and award-winning Igbo Nigerian female writer who currently resides either in her hometown of Nsukka, Nigeria, or the United States. She writes across genres in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting and has even been featured in discography. Her major works include the novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006; now adapted into a film starring Chiwetelu “Chiwetel” Ejiofor and others), and Americanah (2013). The Thing around Your Neck (2009) is the title of her collected stories. She is also an activist and renowned public speaker addressing various issues, including feminism, the literary arts, race, and the history of war. Her major juvenilia includes her first poetry collection, Decisions (1997), and her first published drama, For Love of Biafra (1998). She began her undergraduate studies in medicine at the University of Nsukka before leaving, on scholarship, to study communication at Drexel University, in Philadelphia. She left Drexel for family reasons and completed her degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. She earned her master’s in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, was a 2005–2006 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, and later attained a master’s in African studies from Yale University in 2008. In 2009, she received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Kalamazoo College, in Michigan. She is married to a medical doctor, Ivara Esege. Already honored with numerous awards and multiple nominations for other literary awards, as well as noted for several other distinctions, Adichie has a bright literary and activist future ahead of her, and it will be interesting to see how she will continue exploring the aforementioned issues not only as a female Nigerian author, but as an African and, indeed, diasporic author with deep connections to the United States. A cursory bibliographic search for Adichie criticism yields numerous and varied entries; her works are studied alone or comparatively with works by other Nigerian, African, and modern authors of global literatures. Critical responses to Adichie initially centered on Purple Hibiscus, which won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in 2004 (Best Debut Fiction Category) and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (2005) for the Best First Book (Africa and overall categories). This critical appraisal was further stimulated by Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (2007) and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction) in 2015. Additional criticism is emerging after the phenomenal success of Americanah, a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2013 (fiction category), United States. Adichie criticism is predominantly in English, but there have been some essays and master’s theses in several other languages. Examples include essays in Portuguese by Iulo Almeida Alves and Tainá Almeida Alves (2012), Thomas Bonnici (2006), and Cláudio Braga (2010, 2011); essays in Spanish include those by Bibián Pérez Ruiz (2009) and Ariadna Saiz Mingo (2015). Master’s theses in German and Portuguese, respectively, include those by Nadine Rehnus (2012) and Roberta Mara Resende (2013). This article attempts to serve as a general guide through these numerous critical responses.

Body of Work

Her primary works include novels, a play, poems, short stories, essays, interviews, and other miscellaneous works, including discography (“Flawless,” by Beyoncé, featuring Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” TEDx talk). For a detailed bibliography, see Bibliography, which is linked to Adichie’s personal website.

  • Tunca, Daria. Bibliography. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Website.

    This is a thorough online bibliography of Adichie, including primary and secondary sources in print, electronic, and across media. A detailed introduction, biographical details, relevant links, and miscellaneous information are also offered.

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