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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 born in Aba, Nigeria and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, he is the author of the short stories: “A Tenderer Blessing,” which appears in Transition Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015; “Mulumba,” which appears in The Threepenny Review; and “You Sing of a Longing,” which was shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and appears in Pride and Prejudice, an anthology by The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and in Brittle Paper where he is Submissions Editor. His interviews appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa Magazine, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the editor of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. A postgraduate student of African Studies, he currently teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. When bored, he blogs pop 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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