Winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007, this is a heartbreaking, exquisitely written literary masterpiece Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, works as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna, a young woman, has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos to live with her charismatic new lover, the professor. And Richard, a shy English writer, is in thrall to Olanna’s enigmatic twin sister. As the horrific Biafran War engulfs them, they are thrown together and pulled apart in ways they had never imagined. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s masterpiece, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, is a novel about Africa in a wider sense: about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race – and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, (born September 15, 1977, Enugu, Nigeria), Nigerian author whose work drew extensively on the Biafran war in Nigeria during the late 1960s. Early in life Adichie, the fifth of six children, moved with her parents to Nsukka, Nigeria. A voracious reader from a young age, she found Things Fall Apart by novelist and fellow Igbo Chinua Achebe transformative. After studying medicine for a time in Nsukka, in 1997 she left for the United States, where she studied communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University (B.A., 2001). Splitting her time between Nigeria and the United States, she received a master’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and studied African history at Yale University. In 1998 Adichie’s play For Love of Biafra was published in Nigeria. She later dismissed it as “an awfully melodramatic play,” but it was among the earliest works in which she explored the war in the late 1960s between Nigeria and its secessionist Biafra republic. She later wrote several short stories about that conflict, which would become the subject of her highly successful novel Half of a Yellow Sun (2006). As a student at Eastern Connecticut State University, she began writing her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003). Set in Nigeria, it is the coming-of-age story of Kambili, a 15-year-old whose family is wealthy and well respected but who is terrorized by her fanatically religious father. Purple Hibiscus garnered the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2005 for Best First Book (Africa) and that year’s Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (overall). It was also short-listed for the 2004 Orange Prize (later called the Orange Broadband Prize and now the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction). Half of a Yellow Sun (2006; film 2013), Adichie’s second novel, was the result of four years of research and writing. It was built primarily on the experiences of her parents during the Nigeria-Biafra war. The result was an epic novel that vividly depicted the savagery of the war (which resulted in the displacement and deaths of perhaps a million people) but did so by focusing on a small group of characters, mostly middle-class Africans. Half of a Yellow Sun became an international best seller and was awarded the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction in 2007. Eight years later it won the “Best of the Best” Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, a special award for the “best” prizewinner from the previous decade.