Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun wins Women’s Prize for Fiction’s 25th anniversary award. Dubbed “winner of winners,” the award makes Adichie the most important author to have ever won the Women’s Prize since its founding.
The Women’s Prize is the most prestigious literary honor for female authors writing in English. To mark their 25th anniversary, the Women’s Prize organizers invited members of the public to vote for their favorite winning book in the last 25 years. Half of a Yellow Sun showed a clear lead in the initial stage and was ultimately voted the public’s favorite over titles like Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, Andrea Levy’s Small Island and Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin to win the award. The Women’s Prize reports that more than 8,500 people voted.
Half of a Yellow Sun is a critically acclaimed novel about the Nigerian Civil War. It features some of the most beloved characters in contemporary African fiction, exploring their harrowing experiences during the war.
Adichie has a long history with the Women’s Prize. In 2004, her debut novel Purple Hibiscus was shortlisted for the prize, making Adichie the first Nigerian finalist. In 2007, she won the prize (then known as the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction) for Half of a Yellow Sun. In 2015, Half of a Yellow Sun went on to win “Best of the Best” (winning both the public and jury vote) in a decade ritual by the Women’s Prize organization to celebrate the winning books of the last decade (2006-2015).
The Women’s Prize Director Kate Mosse is pleased with Adichie’s win, noting the importance of introducing the novel to “a new generation of readers.” She adds: “Our aim has always been to promote and celebrate the classics of tomorrow today and to build a library of exceptional, diverse, outstanding international fiction written by women.”
Adichie said she was “especially moved to be voted Winner of Winners because this is the Prize that first brought wide readership to [her] work – and has also introduced [her] to the work of many talented writers.”
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Adichie will attend an event hosted by Women’s Prize co-founder Kate Moss to talk about her winning novel Half of a Yellows Sun, as well as reflect on what winning the award means to her. She will also be presented with a silver edition of the Prize’s annual statuette, known as the ‘Bessie’, which was originally created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.
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Congratulations to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie!