Occasionally, I forget why I love reading so much and my book consumption drops precipitously, until I come across a book that jolts me out of my funk. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah was one of those: it’s so immensely, transparently brilliant that I wanted to underline every other line. I ended up giving away my copy so that someone else could read it, because, really, everyone should.
Adichie is the kind of writer who forces you to look outside of yourself: observant and unsparing on race and gender, blogs and hair salons, academia and immigration. Reading her work, you feel like she might just be able to do anything. Americanah not only perfectly dissects the American conversation around race, but also portrays one of the most convincing literary love stories of all time. Half of a Yellow Sun recounts a pivotal period of Nigerian history through the eyes of charaters who feel as real as your best friend. In her TED talks, Adichie renders complex arguments straightforwardly, with crack comic timing to boot.
The beauty and insight of Adichie’s writing is best appreciated in the context of her engrossing narratives and well-built arguments, but that doesn’t mean she can’t write a killer one-liner. I’ve collected 11 of her most inspiring quotes on creativity, social justice, and living your best life.
"The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story."
On Being Too Awesome
"Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in."
"Racism should never have happened and so you don't get a cookie for reducing it."
On The Novel
"Why did people ask "What is it about?" as if a novel had to be about only one thing."