Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Enugu, Nigeria in 1977. She grew up on the campus of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where her father was a professor and her mother was the first female Registrar.
She studied medicine for a year at Nsukka and then left for the US at the age of 19 to continue her education on a different path.
She graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Communication and Political Science.
She has a master’s degree in African Studies from Yale University, and a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University. She was awarded a Hodder fellowship at Princeton University for the 2005-2006 academic year, and a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University for the 2011-2012 academic year. In 2008, she received a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the “genius grant.”
She has received honorary doctorate degrees from Eastern Connecticut State University, Johns Hopkins University, Haverford College, Williams College, the University of Edinburgh, Duke University, Amherst College, Bowdoin College, SOAS University of London, American University, Georgetown University, Yale University, Rhode Island School of Design, Northwestern University, and University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Adichie’s work has been translated into over thirty languages.
Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), won the Orange Prize. Her 2013 novel Americanah won the US National Book Critics Circle Award and was named one of The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of 2013. A story from her collection, The Thing Around Your Neck, was awarded the O Henry Prize.
She has delivered two landmark TED talks: her 2009 TED Talk The Danger of A Single Story and her 2012 TEDx Euston talk We Should All Be Feminists, which started a worldwide conversation about feminism, and was published as a book in 2014.
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017.
Her most recent work, Notes On Grief, an essay about losing her father, was published in 2021.
She was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2015. In 2017, Fortune Magazine named her one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. She is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Ms. Adichie divides her time between the United States and Nigeria, where she leads an annual creative writing workshop.