Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- Deconstructing Inequality, Moving Between Worlds

Becca Anderson, author of You Are An Awesome Woman, has written a new blog post on the life and career of author and TED Talk speaker Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria, the fifth of six children of Igbo parents; her father was a statistics professor at the University of Nigeria and her mother was the first ever female registrar at the same university. But during the Nigerian Civil War, the family lost nearly everything, including both Adichie’s paternal and maternal grandfathers.

Adichie’s work has appeared in publications including the New Yorker, the
O. Henry Prize Stories, and Zoetrope. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), which won the Orange Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book; and Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named one of the New York Times top ten best books of 2013. Adichie has also published a short story collection, 2009’s The Thing Around Your Neck.

Her 2009 TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” is one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time, and her 2012 TED Talk “We Should All Be Feminists” started a worldwide dialogue on gender dynamics; it was published as a book in 2014. Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in 2017. A past winner of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Chimamanda Adichie splits her time between the United States and Nigeria.

Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression “human rights” is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women—that the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem acknowledge that.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, from her 2009 TED Talk


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