Is Chimamanda Adichie #TeamKainene or #TeamOlanna?

We’ve always wondered about this question. But seeing that authors are always so squeamish about publicly favoring one character over another, we never imagined we’d ever know which of the two sisters Adichie favored.

Now we know, thanks to Sarah Hannan, who asked Adichie during a web chat organized by The Guardian.

Do you think you are more like Olanna or more like Kainene and why? Do you think Kainene is the stronger sister?

Adichie’s response:

A friend said I divided myself in two and created each of the characters. I’m still thinking about it. I certainly admire Kainene more.

That was five days ago. Just yesterday, Adichie sat down with Ted Hodgkinson for a chat before a live audience. At some point that night she revealed in even more precise language her preference for Kainene: “Kainene is the sister I’d be friends with. Olanna is lovely and sweet, but I would find her slightly annoying…she’s too good.”

Adichie’s decade-old novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, is centered around the two female characters who have become iconic images of African feminity. Olanna is pretty, mellow, and nice. Kainene is a feisty and charismatic young woman with a whole lot of swag.

Are you surprised that Adichie is #TeamKainene? For those of you who have read Half of a Yellow Sun, do you have a favorite sister?

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

3 Responses to “Who is Adichie’s Favorite? Olanna or Kainene?” Subscribe

  1. Brickxit 2016/08/08 at 8:09 am #

    “Olanna is lovely and sweet, but I would find her slightly annoying…she’s too good.”

    Good for where? How? No be she go fuck her sister boyfriend?

  2. Flora Gatavi 2016/08/08 at 1:52 pm #

    I’m not surprised at all. I had Chimamanda’s face in my idealization of Kainene as I read the book. It’s exactly how I imagine her (Ms. Adichie) to be and I absolutely love that character. As for Olanna Ozobia, I am yet to find a face for her. Even Thandie didn’t quite do it for me! I am yet to place the illogical beauty, but she is indeed lovely 🙂

  3. Thelma Ofosu Asamoah 2016/08/09 at 9:32 am #

    Dear Brittle paper,

    My name is Thelma Ofosu Asamoah and we run a kids organisation in Ghana. We have launched a creative writing project for children aged 6- 15 years in Ghana and Nigeria with to aim to nurture a writing culture in our communities as well as promote African literature. We would love to get Ainehi Edoro on board and would be most grateful if you could provide an email address so i can forward a proposal?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,


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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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