Animal: What Makes Us Human

Americanah: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2013 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction

This annual prize, awarded separately for fiction and nonfiction, recognizes recently published works “embodying the spirit of the nation’s heartland.” The prizes are part of the Chicago Tribune’s ongoing dedication to reading, writing, and ideas.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a literary superstar. A Nigerian novelist partially based in the United States, MacArthur Fellow, and Orange Prize winner, she is the author, most recently, of Americanah. The novel has wowed readers and critics alike with its honest and provocative investigation of race. The story focuses on Ifemelu, an African woman not unlike Adichie, who comes to the United States for school and eventually becomes a writer (in Ifemelu’s case, a blogger). Ifemelu’s perspective as American African (a distinct identification from African Americans, whose history runs long and deep in this country), provides a lens through which Adichie explores blackness in the 21st century. It is fiction at its finest: challenging, believable, and grounded in true, lived experience. She will be joined in conversation by Chicago Tribune Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mary Schmich.

This program is presented in partnership with the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row series.

Speakers and Performers

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of three novels, Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah, and a short story collection, The Thing around Your Neck. She has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction and a MacArthur Fellowship.

CHF Suggests

Leaders And Thinkers

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Unofficial website

Good Reads

Why Are You Here?
Guernica article about education in Nigeria by the author

Online Resources

The Danger of a Single Story
Adichie's TED talk [video]
Learning to Be Black in the U.S.
The Fresh Air interview
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