Chimamanda Adichie honoured with a Duke Doctorate as Americanah gets NYT Listing

Alexander Opicho March 13, 2018
Chimamanda Adichie

It is so gob-smacking to get one more thrilling news that puts African literature a notch higher in the global station through the forth-coming Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s honorary PhD reck from the Duke University on May 13, 2018.

This will be celebrated alongside honorary recognition with Doctorate degrees to other five no-nonsense professionals and gurus in their disciplines like General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, former Durham Mayor William Bell, the racially inclusive Smithsonian National Museum architect Phil Freelon; Harvard Medical School professor Dr. William Kaelin; and attorney and community leader Russell M. Robinson II. During this award, the key-note speech will be given by the Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The statement made by Vincent E. Price, Duke University President, in this regard was that “Duke is proud to recognize the contributions that this distinguished group has made to society, they each have been bold leaders in their respective fields, and their work has enriched and improved our lives. I am delighted to have the honor of awarding their degrees, and I am certain that the graduating Class of 2018 will be inspired by their example.”

This announcement has only come few days after Americanah, Adichie’s third novel that discusses racism and migrants plight in the West was listed by The New York Times in their The New Vanguard list of fifteen remarkable books by women writers that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century.

The list of fifteen books of the century is usually prepared by Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai, the doyens of literature, journalism and books reviewing at the New York Times. When suggesting Americanah for the list, Dwight Garner commented that:

“Americanah is a resonant and fiercely intellectual novel about a Nigerian woman named Ifemelu who leaves Africa for America and suffers here before starting a blog called Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black, and winning a fellowship at Princeton.”

Dwight also commented that Adichie works both high and low; she’s as adept at dissecting internet and hair salon culture as she is at parsing the overlapping and ever-changing meanings of class and race in the United States. He affirms that Americanah brings news, on many fronts, about how a new generation of immigrants is making its way in the world. It has lessons for every human about how to live.

Adichie’s Americanah was selected alongside other books by women writers of global-class diversity in terms of backgrounds. These were; Zadie Smith’s NW, Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, Ottessa Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World, and Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones.


Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: March 13, 2018


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