Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been awarded the 2018 PEN Pinter Prize. Named after Harold Pinter, the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate, the PEN Pinter Prize honours a writer of “outstanding literary merit,” who is “unflinching, unswerving,” and demonstrates “fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies.” Previous winners include Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie.
The 2018 Prize was judged by biographer Antonia Fraser, who is Harold Pinter’s widow; chair of trustees for English PEN Maureen Freely; and writers Philippe Sands, Alex Clark, and Inua Ellams. They praised Adichie’s “refusal to be deterred or detained by the categories of others.” Fraser hailed Adichie as an embodiment of “those qualities of courage and outspokenness which Harold much admired.”
“In this age of the privatised, marketised self, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the exception who defies the rule,” said Maureen Freely. “Sophisticated beyond measure in her understanding of gender, race, and global inequality, she guides us through the revolving doors of identity politics, liberating us all.”
Commenting on her win, Adichie said: “I admired Harold Pinter’s talent, his courage, his lucid dedication to telling his truth, and I am honoured to be given an award in his name.
Adichie will received the Prize on 9 October, where she is also expected to announce her co-winner, who will receive the 2018 International Writer of Courage. The 2018 International Writer of Courage is meant for a writer “who is active in defence of freedom of expression, often at great risk to their own safety and liberty.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie continues to lead from the front. Congratulations to her!