As the second decade of this millennium winds down today, Tuesday December 31st 2019, it became imperative for us here at IvoryNG to make a pick of w
As the second decade of this millennium winds down today, Tuesday December 31st 2019, it became imperative for us here at IvoryNG to make a pick of who we feel has had much more impact and who has gotten more recognition, both locally and on the world stage, than any other Nigerian in the last ten years. And for us, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an author and feminist, is our pick of a pacesetter, change agent, history maker. Not only is she the most decorated Nigerian, she has achieved so much within a decade that many only dream of and are yet achieve in a lifetime.
So here are a few reasons why Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is IvoryNG person of the decade.
Chimamanda whose work has been translated into over thirty languages made history on the 20th of November, 2019 by becoming the first Nigerian, first African woman and the youngest African to receive the UN Global Leadership Award. She was recognised for her work using literature and storytelling to connect with people across generations and cultures on issues of gender and racial equality and being a leader on the frontlines of global progress. Previous honourees in this category include former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Kofi Annan.
Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun was named the best winner of the Bailey’s prize (formerly Orange Prize) for fiction of the last decade by both the public and a strong judging panel.
She has 15 honorary doctorates and academic distinctions with five of those in 2019 alone. These honorary doctorates are from
– Eastern Connecticut State University (2015)
– Barnard Medal of Distinction (2016)
– Johns Hopkins University (2016)
– Haverford College (2017)
– University of Edinburgh (2017)
-Duke University (2018)
– Amherst College (2018)
– Bowdoin College (2018)
– School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (2018)
– American University (2019)
– Georgetown University (2019)
– Rhode Island School of Design (2019)
– Yale University (2019)
– Northwestern University (2019)
– University of Fribourg, Switzerland (2019)
In 2013, her novel, Americanah won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize (fiction category), and the most prestigious literary prize in the US, the National Book Critics Circle Award.
In 2015, The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, asked judges of the past 10 years to pick their best of the best winner from the last decade and Half of a Yellow Sun, was named the best winner of the women’s prize for fiction of the last decade.
In 2017, she became the first Nigerian to be awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize for her thought-provoking novels and charismatic public presence.
In the same year, she was also the first Nigerian to win the Le Grand Prix de l’héroïne Madame Figaro for the French translation of Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.
In 2018, Chimamanda received the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award for her work with her writing workshop, the Farafina (now Purple Hibiscus Trust) Workshop. She is the second African and first African woman to receive the award.
She is also the first African to win the PEN Pinter Prize in 2018.
In 2015, she became a Girls Write Now Awards Groundbreaker honoree.
In 2017, Harper’s Bazaar honoured her at the Women of the Year Awards
In 2018, she became a recipient of the Leadership Award during The Women’s Center’s 32nd Annual Leadership Conference.
In 2018, she was awarded the Global Hope Coalition Thought Leadership Award.
Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award, 2018
Everett M. Rogers Award, 2019
Kassel Citizens ‘Prism of Reason’ award, 2019
Named by Africa Report as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans. Fourth on the list and only woman in Top 10 (2019) alongside Aliko Dangote.
Named a Force for Change in British Vogue’s September 2019 Issue, guest edited by The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Mark
First African to deliver Yale Graduation Speech in 2019
Her 2009 TED talk, ‘The Danger of A Single Story’ is one of the most viewed TED Talks.
Her 2012 TEDx Euston talk, ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ started a global conversation about feminism.
In 2013, she was nominated for a Grammy award for her feminist-inspired collaboration with Beyonce, on her track, ‘Flawless’. Following her TEDx talk on why ‘We Should All Be Feminists,’ Beyonce incorporated the writer’s essay into her single, which further brought more life to her craft.
She has been in conversation with Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, with Hilary Clinton changing her Twitter bio following their conversation. –
Luxury fashion house, Dior made shirts with ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ inspired by her talk
She was listed in Fortune Magazine’s List of 50 World Leaders in 2017
‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ was named in BBC’s 100 Novels That Shaped Our World in 2019.
She was listed among the ‘100 Most Influential People’ by Time Magazine in 2015
Her books are used in school curriculums.
She launched the Wear Nigerian Project in 2017 and an annual creative writing workshop which has since become the most prestigious literary workshop in Africa.
In January 2020, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will receive the first Belle van Zuylenring, an honorary prize set by the ILFU International Literature Festival Utrecht.
Not many know that she is very much married to a USA-based doctor, Dr Ivara Esege. They have a child together. She was once quoted as saying, “Addressing me as Mrs Chimamanda (Esega), I don’t like this at all. So, my name is Chimamanda Adichie, full stop.”
Going over this thread and all that we haven’t covered and we’re truly in awe of the decade our Queen has had, bearing in mind that there’s a lot we haven’t mentioned!