Written by: Henry Akubuiro
Chimamda Ngozi Adichie is presently, possibly the biggest Nigerian, nay African writer, of her generation, with her works translated to thirty languages across the world; yet, she never set out to be a writer as a child.
At the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Adichie studied medicine and pharmacy for a year and a half. When she left Nigeria at the age of 19, she studied communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She soon transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University, and received a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut, with the distinction of summa cum laude in 2001.
Her first two works, which are less talked about, was a collection of poems, Decisions, published in 1997, and a play, For Love of Biafra. She switched over to fiction thereafter. She explained: “Because poetry’s too hard to do well. Also, my process isn’t an entirely conscious thing. I just do. But I will say that fiction is true. This is something my friends who write nonfiction and I argue about all the time. I feel that fiction is much more honest than nonfiction.
“I know from my limited experience in writing nonfiction, particularly memoirs, that in the process of writing I am constantly negotiating different levels of self-censorship and self-protection, and protection of people I love, and sometimes protection of people I don’t necessarily care about but I worry that the reader might have biased feelings about. When I write fiction, I don’t think about any of that. Radical honesty is possible in fiction. With fictional characters, I don’t have to think about protecting anybody,” she said in a conversation.”
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