Award winning writer, Chimamanda Adichie is not a strange face to her readers who are looking for information about gender related issues with a strong feminine theme. The novelist and short story writer was dubbed as the ‘most prominent of critically acclaimed young anglophile authors that is attracting a new generation of readers to African literature.’ She has been outspoken on the issue of women’s right in a largely patriarchal society, particularly those in the rural areas and has on occasion wished to be addressed by her maiden name instead of the prefix ‘Mrs’ , in a largely traditional bound Nigeria.
“It was the lack of gratitude on my part for having a husband. And yet I didn’t want to proclaim it: I wanted to claim my own name.” she once quipped, raising many heckles among the men in the country.”
The award-winning writer talked passionately about feminism, gender equality, her career as a writer and lots more in this issue. Read an excerpt below:
The oppression of women, she says, “Makes me angry. I can’t not be angry. I don’t know how you can just be calm. My family says to me, ‘Oh, you’re such a man!’ – you know, very lovingly… But of course I’m not, I just don’t see why I shouldn’t speak my mind.” She got into trouble for speaking her mind in Nigeria: when an interviewer addressed her as Mrs Chimamanda Adichie, she corrected him, saying she wished to be known as “Ms”, which the journalist reported as “Miss”.
Her insistence on her own family name was all over the news here last spring. She should be happy to be addressed as “Mrs”, she was told, since she was, after all, married. She laughs now, but it’s clear the story still disturbs her. “It was the lack of gratitude on my part for having a husband. And yet I didn’t want to proclaim it: I wanted to claim my own name.”
A married women wishing to be addressed by her maiden name is quite common in many industrialized countries such as EU and Japan but can be a paradigm shift in the mindset for those residing in third world countries.
The 37-year-old author has won many awards to her credit – some of which she has garnered include the ‘Bailey Women Prize for Fiction’ , ‘ McArthur Fellowship’, ‘Anisfield-Wolf Book Award’ , ‘PEN Open Book Award’ and ‘ Orange Broadbrad Prize for Fiction’.
The author is also academically prominent having earned her bachelor from Drexel University, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Eastern Connecticut State University. She also holds a Masters degree in creative writing from John Hopkins University and a Master in Arts in African Studies from Yale University. She was also the holder of a fellow at Princeton University.
Among her 3 award winning novels are ‘Purple Hibiscus (2003)’, ‘ Half Of A Yellow Sun (2006)’ and ‘Americanah (2013)’.
You can read the full interview HERE!