In 2018, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will be the second African to receive the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, following Kwame Dawes. The Ghanaian poet and founder of Africa Poetry Book Fund (APBF) was honoured in 2012 for being “a tireless champion for poetry, the literary arts, and community,” whose “efforts have helped facilitate poetry publications in the Caribbean, in South Carolina, and among Black British poets.”
Begun in 1996 by the U.S.’s biggest creative writers organisation Poets & Writers, the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award is meant “to recognize authors who have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community.” The award is named after the bookselling company Barnes & Noble “in appreciation of the company’s long-standing sponsorship of Poets & Writers.”
Along with Adichie, Steve Cannon and Richard Russo will be honoured as well for having “not only expanded our horizons through their own writing, they are dedicated to supporting other writers and to bringing diverse voices into the literary conversation.” Rebecca Saletan will receive Poets & Writers’ Editor’s Award. Adichie’s citation mentions that “She supports and encourages younger writers through her work with the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop in Nigeria, regarded by many as the premier writing program in Africa.”
Susan Isaacs, chairman of Poets & Writers’ Board of Directors, who also chairs the selection committee stated:
“We receive nominations from writers, publishing professionals, and others in the literary community. From the information about the nominees and their accomplishments, we select three writers and an editor who exemplify Poets & Writers’ core values: service, integrity, inclusivity, and excellence. This year’s honorees are models of those qualities. The Board is delighted to be able to honor them. Their work makes me proud to be part of this community.”
An offshoot of Adichie’s one-time definition of herself as a “hopelessly sentimental Pan-Africanist,” the Farafina Workshop is the highest-profile creative writing workshop on the continent. It annually brings together a group of twenty to twenty-four writers selected from applications from all over the continent, but mostly from Nigeria. For ten days, these writers are lodged in a hotel in Lagos and guided in fine-tuning their writing. Alongside Adichie, sessions are facilitated by Binyavanga Wainaina and Aslak Myhre, the National Librarian of Norway. Other facilitators have, in different years, included Tin House editor Robert Spillman, NLNG Prize for Literature winner Chika Unigwe, mystery novelist Jeffrey Allen, the memoirist Faith Adiele, and Eghosa Imasuen, author of Fine Boys. The workshop usually closes with the Farafina Literary Evening, open to the general public. The workshop, however, was not held in 2017, to enable them to “take this time off to establish a new organisation and structure that will provide a more stable foundation for the workshop and other initiatives.”
Adichie will be presented with her award at Poets & Writers’ annual dinner, themed “In Celebration of Writers,” on 28 March 2018, in New York City.
Congratulations to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
More information HERE.