BY Ben Ebuka, 11:08am January 05, 2023,

Renowned Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie crowned an African traditional chief in her hometown

Photo credit: Afrocritik

Chimamanda Adichie received a chieftaincy title in her hometown, Abba, Anambra State, on Friday, December 30, 2022. The traditional king of Abba conferred the title ‘Odeluwa’ to the prolific writer, which means ‘the one who writes for the world.’

The title makes Chimamanda Adichie the first female to receive a chieftaincy title in her hometown, where chieftaincy titles are preserved only for men who have distinguished themselves in different noteworthy achievements and have contributed immensely to the growth of Abba town. The award was in recognition of her literary successes and contributions to the development of her hometown, Abba.

The traditional king of Abba town, His Royal Highness Igwe L. N. Ezeh (Eze-Abba), conferred the title to Chimamanda amid tumultuous applause and celebration from the teeming crowd of well-wishers, community members, supporters, friends, and family members who thronged the palace of the king to celebrate with one of the illustrious daughters and Icons of Africa.

The colorful ceremony formed part of the series of traditional festivals lined up in Abba for the 2022 Christmas season. Some notable dignitaries at the event were His Excellency Peter Obi – the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria, Professor Charles Soludo – Governor of Anambra State and Godwin Obaseki – Governor of Edo State.

With this official title, Chimamanda follows the path of her late father, Professor James N. Adichie, who held the title of ‘Odelu Ora Abba’, meaning ‘the one who writes for Abba town.’

In appreciation to the people of Abba and the traditional king, Chimamanda said, “This is a blessing to me. This honor is very unique and I am very happy. This is a challenge for me to do more for my community. We have a beautiful culture that is worth celebrating. This honour will complement who I am.”

“My father, Professor James Adichie held the title of Odelora ‘writer for the people of Abba’,and today I received the title of Odeluwa ‘writer for the world.’ I dedicate this honor to my late parents Professor James Nwoye Adichie and Mrs. Grace Ifeoma Adichie.” “I hereby pledge to always respond to any call towards the development of Abba. As I write for the world, I also write for Abba and I pray that peace will continue to reign in this community.”

The internationally celebrated award-winning author continues to draw global attention and recognition. In October 2022, she received the W.E.B Du Bois Medal, making her the first African woman to receive the highest honor in field of African and African-American Studies from Harvard University.

She received the Distinguished WISCAR Award at the Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR) conference in December 2022.

Early Life and Education

The 46-year-old author was born in Enugu State, Nigeria, on September 15, 1977. She grew up in Nsukka, the town of the prestigious University of Nigeria. Her father was a professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria, while her mother was the first female registrar of the University of Nigeria.  

She attended secondary school at the University of Nigeria Secondary School. She studied medicine and pharmacy briefly at the University of Nsukka before she traveled to the United States to study communications and political science at Drexel University. She earned her first master’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University (2003) and her second master’s degree in African studies from Yale University (2008).

Chimamanda earned a MacArthur fellowship in 2008 and another fellowship from Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

She has earned sixteen honorary doctorate degrees from different universities including the Catholic University of Louvain, Duke University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Edinburgh, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

Literary Achievements

Chimamanda started her literary career at the University of Nigeria as the editor of ‘The Compass’, a magazine run by the Catholic medical students of the university. She published her first novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ in 2003, which received widespread recognition and was awarded the Common Wealth Writers’ Prize in 2005 for the Best First Book.

Her second novel ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ was published in 2006 and named after the flag of the Biafra nation. The book received the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was adapted into a film released in 2014 under the title ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’.

Her third novel ‘Americanah’ was released in 2013 and selected as one of ‘The 10 Best Books of 2013’ by The New York Times. Aside from novels, Chimamanda Adichie has released other literary works including:

‘Decisions’ (a collection of poems published in 1997)

For Love of Biafra’ (a play published in 1998)

‘The Thing Around Your Neck’ (a collection of short stories published in 2009)

‘We should All be Feminists’ (an essay and book excerpt written in 2014)

 ‘Dear Ijeawele, or A feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions’ (essay written in 2017)

‘Sierra Leone, 1997’ (a story published in 2019)

 ‘Zikora (a short story written in 2020)

‘Notes on Grief’ (a memoir written in 2021)

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: January 5, 2023


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