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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Photo credit: PORT Magazine.

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!

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He is the curator 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 cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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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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