Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a writer and storyteller, best known for her themes of politics, culture, race, and gender. Her novels, short stories, and plays have all received both public and critical acclaim. In 2008, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant." She currently splits her time between Nigeria and the United States.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Adichie studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half before leaving for the United States at the age of 19. She studied communications on scholarship at Drexel University for two years, then transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University. At Eastern, she studied communication and political science, graduating summa cum laude in 2001. She earned a Master's in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and Master of Arts in African Studies from Yale University.
Adichie's current catalog includes three novels, a collection of short stories, a collection of poems, and publications in numerous journals. Adichie's first novel, Purple Hibiscus, is about emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom and earned the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Published in 2006, Half of a Yellow Sun set during the Nigerian Biafra war won the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent novel, Americanah, a tender story of race and identity, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the Heartland Prize for Fiction, among many other literary prizes. Americanah is currently being adapted as a film featuring Lupita Nyong'o. In 2009, Adichie published her first collection of short stories, The Thing around Your Neck.
In 2012, Adichie delivered the popular TEDx talk titled “We Should All Be Feminists,” viewed over 3 million times. The lecture is a powerful call to action for both genders: "My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, ‘Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better.' All of us, women and men, must do better." Adichie's words gained further notoriety when, in 2013, Beyoncé sampled the lecture for the song “Flawless” on her album Beyoncé. In 2014, Adichie adapted her lecture as an essay and published it as a book by the same name. As part of an effort to promote gender equality, Sweden currently distributes the book to all 16-year-olds.
Speaking at Towson University, Adichie once remarked that she never considered herself a political writer, stressing that life struggles happen against a political context. In 2016, The Johns Hopkins University awarded her a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa "for always striving to put a human face on life changing events and class struggles, to force a greater understanding."