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In 2003, Chimamanda Adichie was a student at Johns Hopkins University, finishing up a masters degree in creative writing. That same year, she published her first novel, Purple Hibiscus. She was just starting out on what would become a remarkably successful career in fiction writing.

Since Johns Hopkins was there when it all started, it is only fitting that they should recognize her life’s work and celebrate her accomplishments in the highest way possible.

Yesterday at the university-wide commencement ceremony, Adichie was conferred with a honorary degree in celebration of her work as a successful writer and her role as a visionary.

“My advice to the graduating seniors,” Adichie says in a video released by the university yesterday, “is eat real food as often as you can and embrace ignorance. Say those words, “I don’t know” because by embracing ignorance, you open up the possibility of knowledge.”

In the picture above, Adichie is draped in academic regalia, waiting to be hooded. She looks gorgeously doctoral.

Congrats to Adichie! It’s a well-deserved honor.

 

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Image via The Hub

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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