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Chimamanda Adichie’s first novel Purple Hibiscus (2003) has won the 2017 “One Maryland, One Book” initiative. This is Adichie’s second win in a US statewide reading program, coming weeks after her third novel Americanah won the “One Book, One New York” initiative.

The “One Maryland, One Book” initiative, organised for the State of Maryland in the US, is in its tenth year. The selection was based on the program’s 2017 theme of “Home and Belonging” and involved a committee of educators, librarians, authors and bibliophiles who considered more than 120 books in February.

Commenting on the choice, Maryland Humanities Executive Director Phoebe Stein said:

Our One Maryland One Book program brings diverse groups of Marylanders together in thoughtful discussion of the same book. Purple Hibiscus—a powerful coming-of-age novel that explores this year’s theme of home and belonging, along with resonant themes like faith, family, and freedom—will no doubt spark illuminating conversations throughout Maryland.

On her win, Adichie, who is expected to undertake a tour to promote the novel in the state, has this to say:

I’m pleased and honored that Purple Hibiscus will be read by many people in the state I call my American home. Literature should ‘instruct and delight’ and I truly hope Marylanders will enjoy reading it.

It is timely, this return of Purple Hibiscus in the Great Adichie Novel conversation, the first novel whose shine seemed to have been scrambled off it by the massive successes of her sister books, Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah. Published by Algonquin Books in October of 2003, the novel won the 2004 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Best Debut Fiction and the 2005 Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book. But its biggest moment was its shortlisting for the 2004 Orange Prize and longlisting for the 2004 Booker Prize. It was further shortlisted for the 2004/2005 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and nominated for the 2004 Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Best Book for Young Adults.

Cassava Republic, Nigeria’s leading publishing house, notes in a 2013 article how the novel’s success and the support it received partly inspired the involvement of the NLNG in Nigerian literature. Given its prominence on school curricula, Purple Hibiscus is perhaps her most read book in Nigeria—and the most pirated.

Congratulations to Adichie on this one.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young was shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. His short story, "You Sing of a Longing," was shortlisted for the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award. His first published story, “A Tenderer Blessing,” appears in Transition magazine and was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His second story, "Mulumba," appears in The Threepenny Review and has been translated into the German. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and Brittle Paper where he is Submissions Editor. He is the editor of the Art Naija series, a sequence of anthologies of writing and visual art which document aspects of Nigerian life. The first anthology, Enter Naija: The Book of Places, explores cities and marked Nigeria's 56th Independence anniversary. The second anthology, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations, explores professions and is forthcoming in June 2017. Otosirieze teaches English at a Nigerian university. When bored, he blogs popular culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna.

One Response to “Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus Wins the 2017 “One Maryland, One Book” Initiative” Subscribe

  1. samuel dzombo 2017/04/21 at 05:10 #

    chamamanda is great !!!!

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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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