Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Novelist
Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature.

Why you should listen

In Nigeria, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Half of a Yellow Sun has helped inspire new, cross-generational communication about the Biafran war. In this and in her other works, she seeks to instill dignity into the finest details of each character, whether poor, middle class or rich, exposing along the way the deep scars of colonialism in the African landscape.

Adichie's newest book, The Thing Around Your Neck, is a brilliant collection of stories about Nigerians struggling to cope with a corrupted context in their home country, and about the Nigerian immigrant experience.

Adichie builds on the literary tradition of Igbo literary giant Chinua Achebe—and when she found out that Achebe liked Half of a Yellow Sun, she says she cried for a whole day. What he said about her rings true: “We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers.”

What others say

“When she turned 10 and read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, about the clash between Igbo tradition and the British colonial way of life, everything changed: ‘I realized that people who looked like me could live in books.’ She has been writing about Africa ever since.” — Washington Post

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ’s TED talks

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the TED Blog

Africa

The danger of a single story: Chimamanda Adichie on TED.com

October 7, 2009

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. (Recorded at TEDGlobal, July 2009, Oxford, UK. Duration: 18:49) Twitter […]

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Quotes from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
TEDGlobal 2009 • 7.2M views Oct 2009
Inspiring, Beautiful
[My college roommate] asked if she could listen to what she called my ‘tribal music,’ and was consequently very disappointed when I produced my tape of Mariah Carey.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
TEDGlobal 2009 • 7.2M views Oct 2009
Inspiring, Beautiful
At about the age of seven … I wrote exactly the kinds of stories I was reading: All my characters were white and blue-eyed, they played in the snow, they ate apples, and they talked a lot about the weather: how lovely it was that the sun had come out. This despite the fact that I lived in Nigeria; we didn’t have snow, we ate mangoes, and we never talked about the weather, because there was no need to.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
TEDGlobal 2009 • 7.2M views Oct 2009
Inspiring, Beautiful