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Garlands as Adichie’s novel wins another global award

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By Chinelo Nwangene

Nigeria’s literary queen, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, added a new feather of glory to her cap when her novel, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ emerged winner of the 2020/21 edition of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. With the latest award, Adichie has etched her name in the golden page of Africa’s literary history.

Adichie’s book beat other award-winning books that included that of Zadie Smith, the late Andrea Levy, Lionel Shriver, Ali Smith, Rose Tremain and Maggie O’Farrell, amongst others. “This one-off award marks the culmination of our year-long 25th anniversary celebrations, including our #ReadingWomen campaign championing a quarter of a century of unforgettable winners,” a statement released by the award organisers said.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction is one of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary prizes annually awarded to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English. It was the second time the Abba, Anambra-born woman will be winning the Women’s Prize for Fiction with the same book. Recall that in 2007, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun,’ which chronicled the horrific experiences that people in the defunct Biafra went through during the 30 months civil war in late 1960s, also won the award, then called the Orange Prize.

Reacting to her latest accomplishments, Chimamanda said: “I’m especially moved to be voted Winner of Winners because; this is the prize that first brought a wide readership to my work – and has also introduced me to the work of many talented writers.”

Chimamanda, who has already received a silver edition of the prize’s annual statuette, known as the ‘Bessie’, is expected to share her writing experience and feeling about the award during a special gala event to be hosted by Women’s Prize Founder, Director Kate Mosse, on December 6, 2020.

Expectedly, tributes had flowed since the award was announced last week. Many have praised the literary queen for upholding the banner of African literature. “We congratulate her for this great victory. Not only is Chimamanda a brilliant, compelling writer; she also embodies in herself those qualities of courage and outspokenness that is worthy of emulation,” the Women Leadership Institute wrote.

Lubega Mulindwa Patrick also reacted: “I congratulate you, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I admire your art of writing and speech; one of your names, Ngozi, in my culture, means a special cloth that’s used by mothers to wrap around the baby while breast feeding. Every child is given their own Ngozi. It’s also at times used to cover the baby in case they’re crying, so they can sleep.”

Inemesit Udoh hailed Adichie as a bright rising star of global literally masterpiece. “Your works: Americana, Purple Hibiscus, Half of the Yellow Sun and all your works of creative imagination are deserving of more awards. May you live more to enjoy the rewards of your ingenuity and an indisputable intellectual sagacity. May your wins inspire more Nigerian youths across gender that knowledge is the compass to cross borders marred by economic, geographical and cultural barricades. You are the pride of Nigeria and Nigerians,” Udoh wrote.

David Ibezue also expressed his adoration for Adichie, and expressed desire that she wins a Nobel Prize for Literature: “You have always been my heroine. The moment I finished reading ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ after reading ‘The Purple Hibiscus,’ I consoled myself that after all, Chinua Achebe, though was dead, yet, his ‘daughter’ lives. She is due for Nobel Prize for Literature. Congratulations! Keep rising, you make us proud in Africa!”

Nancy Chisom hailed Adichie’s award winning novel as the best of its kind. “I don’t mean to overstate. I have read a lot of books; but have not read a book like ‘Half of a Yellow Sun.’ Each time I remember the book, I feel like reading it over again. The insight to the subject matter and literary prowess displayed in the book was massive. A well deserved award, you are an inspiration to many.”

Carla Azevedo was also full of praises for the book. He wrote: “I’ve read this book a few years ago, and still talk about it and recommend it to everyone I know. Beautifully written, and with a lot of heart breaks. I’m not a hugger and even, I felt those characters seriously needed a hug, after all they had gone through. I’m sure your fellow nominees are great too; but yours would have had my vote in a heartbeat.”

Ebere Nwabuogor also hailed Chimamanda, stressing: “This is just the beginning. You are an outstanding writer, and a unique one for that matter. Your recognition will be globally celebrated when the time is ripe. Keep the flag flying? You are a true daughter of the soil. I am so proud of you.”

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