I came across her first book – ‘Purple Hibiscus’ a few years back and as destiny would have it, I had a reason to re-read it this
summer raining season. After finishing it, (in less than 8 hours) I had to get more of this uber talented author. In days to follow, I purchased two other texts by her – ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and ‘The thing around your neck’. These books were nothing beyond superb. In her books, she is fearless, in fact, she turned me into a sponge – I just kept absorbing more and more of her writing and could literally not drop any of her books for more than ten minutes. When I googled her to find more about this amazing person who I am proud to call a Nigerian, I was not surprised to find out about her many laurels
(culled from wikipedia).
Awards and selected nominations
- 2002: Shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing, for “You in America”
- 2002: Runner-up in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition, for “The Tree in Grandma’s Garden”
- 2002: BBC Short Story Competition joint winner, for “That Harmattan Morning”
- 2003: O. Henry Prize for “The American Embassy”
- 2002/2003: David T. Wong International Short Story Prize (PEN Center Award), for “Half of a Yellow Sun”
- 2004: Hurston-Wright Legacy Award (Best Debut Fiction Category), for Purple Hibiscus
- 2004: Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, for Purple Hibiscus
- 2004: Longlisted for the Booker Prize, for Purple Hibiscus
- 2005: Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Best First Book (Africa), for Purple Hibiscus
- 2005: Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Best First Book (overall), for Purple Hibiscus
- 2007: Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (Fiction category), for ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ (joint winner)
- 2007: PEN Beyond Margins Award, for Half of a Yellow Sun (joint winner)
- 2007: Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction for Half of a Yellow Sun
- 2008: Future Award, Nigeria (Young Person of the Year category)
- 2008: MacArthur Foundation genius grant (along with 24 other winners)
- 2009: International Nonino Prize
- 2009: Longlisted for Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, for The Thing Around Your Neck
- 2009: Shortlisted for John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, for The Thing Around Your Neck
- 2010: Shortlisted for Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Best Book (Africa), for The Thing Around Your Neck
In ‘Purple Hibiscus’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ especially, she explored in great depth, the whimsical politics practiced in our country and the pitiful outcomes which were produced by them.
Other things I salute her for is writing about a period in which she was not even born and venturing into literature after training as a medical doctor!!
She is what happens when a talented person makes use of what God has bestowed on them and she is also, undeniably, a role model for Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora.
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