Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will be receiving an honourary PhD from Duke University on May 13, alongside five other dignitaries: General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra; former Durham Mayor William Bell; Smithsonian National Museum lead architect Phil Freelon; Harvard Medical School professor Dr. William Kaelin; and attorney and community leader Russell M. Robinson II. The awards is part of Duke University’s Commencement, which will feature an address by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
“Duke is proud to recognize the contributions that this distinguished group has made to society,” said Duke President Vincent E. Price. “They each have been bold leaders in their respective fields, and their work has enriched and improved our lives. I am delighted to have the honor of awarding their degrees, and I am certain that the graduating Class of 2018 will be inspired by their example.”
Americanah was selected as the first-year summer reading assignment for Duke’s Class of 2018. Before that, on a 2013 visit to the university, she was interviewed by our editor Ainehi Edoro. Check out photos of that visit HERE.
The announcement comes days after Americanah was listed by The New York Times‘ in their “The New Vanguard” list of “15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century.” The list was compiled by three of the newspaper’s book reviewers: Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and
If you were paying attention, you might have seen this book coming. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s first novel, “Purple Hibiscus,” was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her second, “Half of a Yellow Sun,” won the Orange Prize. In 2008, she was awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant. But “Americanah” more than paid off on this writer’s promise. It’s a resonant and fiercely intellectual novel about a Nigerian woman named Ifemelu who leaves Africa for America and suffers here before starting a blog called “Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black” and winning a fellowship at Princeton. Adichie works both high and low; she’s as adept at dissecting internet and hair salon culture as she is at parsing the overlapping and ever-changing meanings of class and race in the United States. “Americanah” brings news, on many fronts, about how a new generation of immigrants is making its way in the world. It has lessons for every human about how to live.
— Dwight Garner.
See the other books selected—including Zadie Smith’s NW, Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, Ottessa Moshfegh’s Homesick for Another World, and Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones—HERE.
Here is our 2017 editorial on how Americanah has become Adichie’s signature novel.
Congratulations to the ever-rocking Adichie.