The stunning novelist and outspoken advocate of women creatives everywhere, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has won the ‘Best of the Best’ honor from the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction — as if readers didn’t already have reason enough to love her. Adichie’s breathtaking novel Half of a Yellow Sun won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2007, and has now been singled out for particular recognition as the best novel recognized by the Baileys Prize in the last decade, coming in ahead of other celebrated titles like Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, and Téa Obreht's The Tiger's Wife. If you’ve read any of Adichie’s work, you’ll know it’s an honor well-deserved.
Half of a Yellow Sun, which hit shelves back in 2006, tells the story of the Nigerian Civil War of the late 1960s, as experienced through the lives of five complexly intertwined characters. Like all of Adichie’s writing, Half of a Yellow Sun grapples with the complicated themes of war and violence, post-colonial Africa, and of course women’s rights and female empowerment. The novel was adapted into a film by the same name in 2013.
Here's what Muriel Gray, Chair of Baileys Women’s Prize Judges in 2007, had to say about Adichie's book:
While it’s sometimes pompous to call a book "important" it’s appropriate to say it of Half of a Yellow Sun. For an author, so young at the time of writing, to have been able to tell a tale of such enormous scale in terms of human suffering and the consequences of hatred and division, whilst also gripping the reader with wholly convincing characters and spell binding plot, is an astonishing feat.
Adichie, who grew up in Nigeria, is also the author of novels Purple Hibiscus, and most recently Americanah, both of which touch on themes similar to those explored in Half of a Yellow Sun. Her work has been translated into 30 languages, and in addition to her latest ‘Best of the Best’ recognition, she has won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Orange Prize for Fiction.