Thursday, 25 September 2008

Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi-Adiche wins MacArthur 'genius' award

Over the past two years its seems that I enter somewhere as Chimamanda has just left, especially when i visit Quintessence or Jazzhole (gift/bookshops). Only last week when I popped into Bogobiri (art boutique hotel) to meet photographer George Osodi, he was working on portraits of the writer and mentioned she just left with her Nigerian publisher Muhtar Bakare. Maybe it is all well and good. I have read Purple Hibiscus and literally 'forced' some of my non-art friends to read it, but I have yet to read Half of a Yellow Sun. I have a 20hr flight coming up soon so it will be part of my hand luggage. Then I can congratulate her properly without the corny Congratulations, I haven't read it yet but it is on my priority reading list.
The MacArthur Foundation has announced that Chimamanda is one of 25 individuals selected for the prestigious 2008 MacArthur Fellow. The $500,000 fellowship is paid over a 5 years period with no strings attached. This is an important encouragement for any artist at a critical time in their career. Other notable visual artists who have received the award include David Hammons, Martin Puryear, Fred Wilson, Kara Walker and Julie Mehretu.

The Foundations's release states that

Chimamanda Adichie is a young writer who illuminates the complexities of human experience in works inspired by events in her native Nigeria. Adichie explores the intersection of the personal and the public by placing the intimate details of the lives of her characters within the larger social and political forces in contemporary Nigeria. Dividing her time over the last decade between the United States and Nigeria, she is widely appreciated for her stark yet balanced depiction of events in the post-colonial era. In her most recent novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), Adichie unflinchingly portrays the horror and destruction of the civil war following the establishment of the Republic of Biafra. Using multiple narrative voices, a precise movement back and forth in time, and prose that is at once witty and empathetic, she immerses the reader in the psyches of her characters, whose loyalties to each other and their ideals are tested as their world gradually falls apart. In humanizing the Biafran tragedy, Adichie’s novel has enriched conversation about the war within Nigeria while also offering insight into the circumstances that lead to ethnic conflict. A writer of great promise, Adichie’s powerful rendering of the Nigerian experience is enlightening audiences both in her homeland and around the world.

Chimamanda Adichie received a B.A. (2001) from Eastern Connecticut State University, an M.A. (2003) from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.A. (2008) from Yale University. Her additional works include the novel Purple Hibiscus (2003) and short stories that have appeared in such publications as the New Yorker, Granta, and the Virginia Quarterly Review.


Blogger Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie makes me so proud! I have had the pleasure of reading both her books and I find her a writer of astounding depth and insight. For a young lady that was born moons away from Biafra, she tells the story with such wisdom, sensitivity and frankness. reading 'Half of a Yellow Sun' made me realise that as an Igbo person and a Nigerian, that part of our singular and collective history has never really been properly recounted or documented.

Igbo parents that were involved in the war in various capacities (like my father) rarely talk about it. It appears that it is still a painful wound that has been ignored. Perhaps that is part of the problem that divides us as a nation unconciously and has created deep seated mistrust.

I look forward to Adicie's next literary contribution. She deserves all and every accolade that comes her way. In her case her work speaks volumes about her extraordinary talent.I wish her many more successes.

26 September 2008 at 21:41  

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