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Chimamanda Adichie: Biography, Education, Career, Husband, Children, Net Worth, and Controversies



Chimamanda Wothappen

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PHOTO: Instagram

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on September 15, 1977 in Enugu State, Nigeria.

She was born to James Nwoye and Grace Ifeoma as their fifth of six children.

Chimamanda is a renowned writer, orator, and feminist.

Her writing has crossed borders and some of her books have been translated into other languages to reach a wider audience.


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PHOTO: Instagram

Chimamanda had her elementary and secondary education at the University of Nigeria staff school before studying medicine and pharmacy at the university.

Her writing skills came to light when she edited the university magazine called ‘Compass’.

At 19, Ngozi left Nigeria to the United States to study communications and political science at Drexel University, Philadelphia

She later headed to Eastern Connecticut State University to complete her bachelor’s degree where she graduated with a summa cum laude in 2001.

PHOTO: Instagram

Furthermore, Ngozi proceeded to Johns Hopkins University and Yale University where she bagged master’s degrees in 2003 and 2008 respectively.

Chimamanda also receives an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Johns Hopkins University and Haverford College.

During her studies at Yale University, she was a fellow at Princeton University for the academic year 2005-06. In 2008, she was conferred with the MacArthur Fellowship and in 2011-12 she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.


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PHOTO: Instagram

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was 20 years old when she published her first collection of poems, ‘Decisions,’ in 1997.

In 1998, she wrote  ‘For Love of Biafra’ a play about the Nigerian Civil War

She recorded her first big recognition when her short story ‘You in America,’ was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African writing.

She published her debut novel ‘Purple Hibiscus,’ in 2003 which became a huge success.

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PHOTO: Britannica

In 2006, she dropped her next book ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ which recorded an experience of the Nigerian Civil War. The book was adapted into a movie in 2013

Americanah, her third book was released in 2013. The book revolves around a young Nigerian who encountered racism in America

‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ and Dear Ijeawele were also some notable works of the renowned writer.

Adichie published ‘Notes on Grief’ in 2021, a memoir about her father’s death,

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PHOTO: Instagram

Aside from writing, Ngozi has also reached audiences through her oration. She delivered a notable TED lecture in 2019, titled “The Danger of a Single Story”. The talk went viral and amassed about 27 million views on youtube. Making it one of the most viewed TedTalk of all time.

In 2012, she also spoke at the Commonwealth Lecture on ‘Connecting Cultures’.

Later in 2012, she delivered another lecture, “We should all be feminists”  at the TEDxEuston. A speech that was published as a book and reportedly sold about 750,000 copies in the U.S.

Part of the speech was also featured in the song ‘Flawless’ by Beyonce and this also made it gain more public attention.

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PHOTO: Instagram

In August 2022, she was a keynote speaker at the Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Bar Association.

In her speech, she noted that young citizens are finding it hard to have mentors and heroes. She said “There’s need for resurrection. We cannot avoid self-criticism but criticise the government. We cannot hide our own institutional failure while demanding transparency from the government.

Furthermore, she charged citizens to be up to the responsibility and stop blaming the government for the rots in the system. In addition, she said “There’s need for resurrection. We cannot avoid self-criticism but criticise the government. We cannot hide our own institutional failure while demanding transparency from the government.”


Chimamanda Ngozi is married to Dr Ivara Esegee, a medical doctor and the couple has a daughter

Net worth

PHOTO: Instagram

Chimamanda Adichie’s net worth is reportedly valued to be $500,000.


PHOTO: Instagram


  • Decisions
  • For Love of Biafra
  • Purple Hibiscus Half of a Yellow Sun
  • The Thing Around Your Neck
  • Americanah
  • We Should All Be Feminists
  • Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
  • Sierra Leone, 1997
  • Notes on Grief
  • You in America
  • That Harmattan Morning

Awards and Nominations

  • BBC Short Story Competition 2002 joint winner, for ‘That Harmattan Morning’
  • O. Henry Prize 2003, for ‘The American Embassy’
  • David T. Wong International Short Story Prize 2002/2003 (PEN Center Award), Hurston/Wright Legacy Award 2004 (Best Debut Fiction Category)
  • Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2005: Best First Book (Africa)
  • Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2005: Best First Book (overall)
  • Anisfield-Wolf Book Award 2007 (fiction category),
  • PEN ‘Beyond Margins’ Award 2007
  • Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007
  • 2008 MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ grant
  • 2009 International Nonino Prize
  • 2013 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize (fiction category)
  • National Book Critics Circle Award 2013 (fiction category)
  • Winner of the ‘Best of the Best’ of the second decade of the Baileys Women’s
  • Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction)
  • Mary McCarthy Award, Bard College
  • ‘Le Grand Prix de l’héroïne Madame Figaro’ for the French translation of Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (Chère Ijeawele, ou un manifeste pour une éducation féministe)
  • Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award
  • PEN Pinter Prize, 2018

Other Awards

  • Future… Award (Young Person of the Year category)
  • Girls Write Now Awards Groundbreaker honoree
  • Silverbird Special Achievement Award
  • Harper’s Bazaar’s Women of the Year Award
  • Recipient of the Leadership Award during The Women’s Center’s 32nd Annual
  • Leadership Conference
  • Global Hope Coalition’s Thought Leadership Award
  • Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award
  • Everett M. Rogers Award
  • UN Foundation Global Leadership Award
  • Belle van Zuylen Ring Award

Literary awards nominations

  • Shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing
  • Runner-up in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition
  • Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction
  • Longlisted for the Booker Prize
  • YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Best Books for Young Adults Award
  • John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
  • Nominated for the 33rd Annual National Book Critics Circle Prize
  • Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; Best Book (Africa)
  • British Book Awards 2007, category ‘Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year,
  • James Tait Black Memorial prize
  • International Impact Dublin Award
  • Reader’s Digest Author of the Year Award
  • Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award
  • John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 2009
  • Dayton Literary Peace Prize
  • Baileys Women’s Book Prize for Fiction
  • Forbes Africa ‘Person of the Year’ Award
  • YNaija! Person of the Year Award

Nominations for Other Awards

  • ThisDay Awards, ‘New Champions for an Enduring Culture’ category
  • MTV Africa Music Awards, ‘Personality of the Year’ category
  • Forbes Africa Person of the Year Awards
  • New African Woman Awards, Woman of the Year

Other Distinctions

  • New Yorker’s ’20 Under 40′, 2010
  • Ten Best Books of 2013′, New York Times Book Review, for Americanah
  • Top Ten Books of 2013′, BBC, for Americanah
  • 100 Most Influential Africans
  • 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine
  • 100 Dynamic Women’ by Arise Magazine,
  • Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List
  • ‘One Book, One New York Programme’, for Americanah
  • Fortune Magazine’s List of 50 World Leaders,
  • ‘One Maryland, One Book’ Programme, for Purple Hibiscus,
  • Contributor to Genius: 100 Visions of the Future
  • Best books of 2017 by NPR Books and Audible, for Dear Ijeawele
  • ‘One Maryland, One Book’, for Purple Hibiscus,
  • PBS’s ‘The Great American Read’, for Americanah,
  • Barack Obama’s recommended summer reading list, for Americanah, 2018
  • New York Times “15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century”, for Americanah

Honorary Degrees and other academic distinctions

  • Honorary doctorate, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, Connecticut, USA, May 2015
  • Barnard Medal of Distinction, New York, USA, May 2016
  • Honorary doctorate, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, May 2016
  • Elected as a Foreign Honorary Member into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, April 2017
  • Honorary degree, Haverford College, Pennsylvania, USA, May 2017
  • Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 28 2017
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, Duke University, North Carolina, USA, May 2018
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA, May 2018
  • Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree, Bowdoin College, Maine, USA, May 2018
  • Honorary Doctor of Literature (DLit) degree, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK, July 2018
  • Honorary Degree, American University in Washington DC, USA, May 2019
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA, May 2019
  • Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree, Rhode Island School of Design, USA, June 2019
  • Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa, Yale University, USA, June 2019
  • Honorary Degree, Northwestern University, USA, June 2019
  • Honorary Degree, University of Pennsylvania, May 2020


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In 2018, Adichie was faced with criticism when she question Hilary Clinton’s Twitter Bio. Clinton had included “Wife”.

Some netizens went for Adichie accusing her of taking feminism too far.

In reaction to the criticism, Chimamanda said “who read a headline and, without bothering to get details and context, jump on the outrage bandwagon and form lazy, shallow opinions.”

In 2020, Adichie commented on J. K. Rowling’s article “J.K. Rowling Writes About Her Reasons for Speaking Out on Sex and Gender Issues,” referring to it as “perfectly reasonable.”

Her comment was faced with backlashes from netizens who accused her of being transphobic, In addition, Akwaeke Emezi, who had graduated from Adichie’s writing workshop added her voice to the criticism.

Chimamanda in a clap back to Emezi said “There’s a sense in which you’re not allowed to learn and grow.” Forgiveness is also out of the question. It is so lacking in compassion, in my opinion.

In 2021, Adichie revealed that an international magazine declined using her picture for its cover because it looks too glamorous.

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Revealing this on an Instagram post, she said; “It was a cover shoot for an international magazine. Or it was supposed to be. The magazine rejected the photos.

“They didn’t want me ‘looking too glamorous,’ they said. And so the cover didn’t happen.

“What does one do with rejected photos but show them anyway, primarily for the vanity-boosting benefits of such an act, but also to celebrate and thank these talented people in Lagos”.


The information in this article was curated from online sources. Wothappen or its editorial team cannot independently verify all details.

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