Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has long been a favourite author of mine, capturing my imagination with her first novel Purple Hibiscus and then creating one of my favourite books of all time, Half of a Yellow Sun (which I mentioned in a prior post on world book day).
She was asked to speak at the 15th Commonwealth Lecture held yesterday evening at the Guildhall in London on the subject of “Connecting Cultures”. She was an inspired choice, as was the venue, which caused me – a Londoner – much embarrassment for having never been there before!
I am clearly not the only Adichie fan as she has been recently named one of the 20 most important fiction writers today under the age of 40 by the New Yorker. Born in Nigeria in 1977 Adichie has won both the Commonwealth Writers prize for Purple Hibiscus and the Orange prize for fiction for Half of a Yellow Sun.
Adichie herself was inspirational, speaking with as much grace, poetry, intelligence and humour as she writes with.
Adichie talked about the worth of books, and realist fiction in particular, to enlarge our imagination and “to turn fact into truth”. Newspapers give us facts and statistics but it is human stories that give truth, and truly have the power to change people’s minds and open their eyes.
“We should know how people die, but we should also know how they live”.
And as a frivolous aside, but one I can’t resist, Adichie looked absolutely amazing, in a bright red and green peplum dress (excuse the quality of the photo)
PS. A reading list of mentioned titles:
– The Dark Child – Camera Laye
– Reef – Romesh Gunesekera
– Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
– Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
– Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie