Home Essays Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: My Yardstick Of Greatness by Ebube Ezeadum.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: My Yardstick Of Greatness by Ebube Ezeadum.


Once I told my friends that Chimamanda Adichie was the sweetheart I had longed to be with. I remember swearing to them that if I were her classmate, at least, I would do whatever I had to do no matter what it took, just to be by her side always. It wasn’t all the romantic relationship stuffs per se. The fact was that I just would never stand staying away from a walking gold mine like her – and I refer to the beauty her brain oozes out in every words her heart says in her works. Mrs. Adichie is beyond a great Nigerian writer to me – she was the star that lit my night even when she never knew she didTo buttress my descriptive outburst, let us go back to the time when the moon and stars had not yet seen a human competitor, back when Nigeria, our country, was only a 17-year-old teenager… 


Early Life of Chimamanda Adichie 

Born to James Nwoye Adichie and Grace Ifeoma Adichie, Chimamanda first inhaled earth’s air on the 15th day of September, 1977. She was the penultimate child of six fruitful shots her father gave to her mother. She was born in Enugu State, in the eastern part of Nigeria. Reports has it that she had been an enthusiastic reader since she was 10-year-old, and just as I sucked motivation from her straw of inspiration, she too had been sparked by Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart. 


This wonderful lady was probably one of those whose mindset had been wrongly set to the fact that if you were extremely intelligent, then Medicine and Surgery as a course would be perfect for you. But heavens be praised that she soon realized that error and made effort to take the bend into the pathway that led to the discovery of her true destinyIt all began when a negative situation in Nigeria – the rampant academic strikes lecturers embarked upon  prompted her to leave the country. This, together with the low rate of employment experienced even by graduates, were most likely the trigger for her forfeiting her medical school and going for communication and political science in Drexel University, Philadelphia. It was only a short while before she transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University so she could secure a level of proximity with her sister Uche, a medical practitioner in Coventry. Chimamanda is known to have bagged a bachelor’s degree with the distinction of summa cum laude (Latin for the greatest praise or honorary award). She kept rolling the wheel of determination and discipline until she was awarded with a master’s degree in creative writing at John Hopkins University and a Master of Arts degree in African studies from Yale University in 2003 and 2008 respectively. 


Her Works and Accomplishments  

When this brain beauty was still in the University of Nigeria running her course in Medicine and Pharmacy, she probably began her formal literary work as an editor of The Compass, a magazine which was managed by the Catholic Medical Students of the university.    


In 1997, Chimamanda got her collection of poems, titled “Decisions,” published. And a year late, she released her first play which she called “For Love of Biafra.” Adichie was shortlisted for the Caine Prize in the year 2002 for her short story “You in America. She also won, in 2003, the O. Henry Award for “the American Embassy” and the 2002/2003 edition of the David T. Wong International Short Story Prize. 

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction in the year 2004 was her maiden novel “Purple Hibiscus” which was published the year earlier (2003). In 2005, the same book got recognition by the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize as the Best First Book that year. 

Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, which centered around Biafra and the civil war, was born in the year 2006 and by the next year, the book got its own Orange Prize for Fiction award. The book, Half of A Yellow Sun, became a script for a movie directed by Biyi Bandele which bore the same name title 

This relentless superstar didn’t relent, her third book, Americanah was a blast. Not only was it chosen as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013, it was also selected as the overall winning novel for the “One Book, One New York” program. 


This Nigerian wonder woman did not only excel at pen and paper work, but also, had lips which were as sharp as her fingers. She has and still delivers numerous speeches at universities here in Nigeria and abroad. She is also known for the popular speech she gave at a TEDx program “the danger of a single story” which has earned millions of views globally. 


There are just so much more about this queen. What I have spoken about Chimamanda here is comparable to an insignificant fraction of all the achievements she had acquired. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has achieved so much more than one could possibly count. But from the encounters I have had through her books, I can gently conclude that she is the mother of my writing child, the spark of my writing escapade and the blood that supplies my fingers with the inspiration to dance. In short, she is the love of my writing life! 


Ebube Ezeadum wrote in via ezeadumebube@gmail.com

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