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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Connector of the Day: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

October 12th, 2009
05:06 PM ET

LONDON, England - With two critically-acclaimed novels under her belt before the age of 32, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has already established a reputation as one of the hottest talents in African literature.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/12/art.adichie.afp.gi.jpg caption="Adichie's latest book is a collection of short stories."]

Published in 2003, the Nigerian-born author’s debut novel, “Purple Hibiscus” dealt with the challenges faced by a 15-year-old girl brought up by a repressive father in a society characterized by corruption and violence.

In 2007, her second novel, “Half of a Yellow Sun,” which tells the story of Biafra’s short-lived secession from Nigeria in the 1960s, was awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction and became a global bestseller.

Adichie’s new book, “The Thing Around Your Neck,” is a collection of short stories dealing with the perennial themes that have characterized her work: societal violence, domestic abuse, loveless marriages and the hardships of African immigrant life in the U.S. (where she has studied and worked since the 1990s.)

Send your questions for Adichie and we’ll put a selection to her during Tuesday’s show.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. ola

    Hi,

    Keep up the good work.

    Do you feel that Nigeria as a country should break up?

    October 12, 2009 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  2. chibuzo charles

    Hello Ngozi,
    i am proud of you to be outstanding. could you like to be a politician,if yes,what are the things that you would like to change,if you happen to be a leader in Nigeria been your country?

    October 12, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  3. chibuzo charles

    Akidi chibuzo.how long have you been outside the country,and what are the good things we are doing here that you haven't see out there?

    October 12, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  4. Dafe Ivwurie

    Hi Chimamanda,
    some respected writers have opined that you are a better writer when you live and study abroad. do you personally think that Nigerian writers are particulalr limited by the reality of their circumstances – lack of power, self-publishing, etc? ...
    I was also wondering if you believe that awards are subjective and sometimes political?

    October 13, 2009 at 7:55 am | Reply
  5. Fidelis Okoro

    The echo of Nsukka is prominent in your first two works, and that is natural since you grew up there. Was it difficult writing about another place where you have lived for just a short while? What was the experience like?

    I teach English at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

    October 13, 2009 at 9:28 am | Reply
  6. Gbadamosi Rasaq Babatunde

    Hello Ngozi, congratulation!. U prove to the world wt Nigeria is made of despite d critism. Thank u, Keep d fire burning.

    October 13, 2009 at 11:52 am | Reply
  7. Gbadamosi Rasaq Babatunde

    Congratulation!. U prove to the world wt Nigeria is made of despite d critism. Thank u, Keep d fire burning.

    October 13, 2009 at 11:56 am | Reply
  8. helen

    How can you,in your book writing bring a change to our country nigeria.

    October 13, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  9. Deji Amao

    It's moments like this that make me hold my head high and be proud that I am Nigerian.

    If only we can get more publicity for Nigerians doing great things the world over

    October 13, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  10. Jam Nnamdi

    Chima, i don't know what to tell you; may be because i have not read any of your books; but then i have heard people so much about you here in Nigeria. I am proud of you. How did you excel to the point of being a global bestseller and award winning author? Studying in the States? Personal efforts and interests? What is the secret? The point of my question is how could one draw out our God-given talents and potentials that would launch us to the place of relevance and significance in this hurting world?

    October 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  11. Diane

    Where is the extended unemployment benefits. thousands of us without money since 9/19/09 No money what will that do to economy thousands more end this month – thousand more next month and you think it is over not by a long shot

    October 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  12. Lawson Omoruyi

    Dear Ngozi, It's a pleasure connecting with you through CNN. Thoroughly enjoyed reading "Purple Hibiscus." You're an inspiration! Just discovered a friend who has 7novels completed on his laptop. He stopped writing around 2000. I've been blesd to skim through his work & I'm absolutely amazed. Hw can he get agents in Nigeria or self publish online? Pls reply with your advice & contacts. God bless! Hv a lovely day!

    October 13, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  13. Denise

    Hi, Ngozi;

    I read Half of a Yellow Sun, and admired your talent so much, that I had to read Purple Hibiscus – which I also enjoyed, and for basically the same reasons: i.e., as an African woman, you obviously respect your culture, yet find no difficulty in critiquing its excesses and toxicities as perpetuated under this same "culture."

    Speaking of the latter: I continue to be appalled by the relentless – almost chillingly routine manner in which African men will – basically and baldly put: CHOOSE to wreak their personal/egotistical and national FAILURES AS HUMAN BEINGS, upon the BODIES OF AFRICAN WOMEN AND CHILDREN VIA THAT RARIFIED CRIME-POSING-AS-CULTURAL PHENOMENON, CALLED: RAPE AS A WAR-CRIME.

    To me: Rape is just that: rape. A diabolically savage, vindictive and brutally callous CRIME-CHOICE, which is conceptualised (usually and predominantly) by a Man, to be deployed against a Woman for his deliberate gain (physical and mental), and her equally deliberate loss (physical and mental)..

    That said, when I listened to your interview with Ms. Gilbert on the BBC's radio programme (i.e., when discussing the Rape depicted in Half of a Yellow Sun by your houseboy/protagonist), I found it unsettling at the least and distasteful at most, to hear BOTH of you women agreeing – and with much stunningly magnanimous fulsomeness, that the criminal action of raping a shop-girl as carried out in the novel by this character, was somehow "certainly NOT his fault/culpable, at all." In short, your position taken was that OTHER factors were somehow to blame for this character PINNING A PALPABLY RESISTANT SHOPGIRL CAPTIVE ON A DIRTY FLOOR, AND AGAINST A VULGAR BACKGROUND OF FRATERNAL CHEERS AND WHOOPS, INSERTING HIS PENIS INSIDE OF HER. Starkly stated merely to show that there is – can NEVER BE – ANYTHING AT ALL ACCIDENTAL about the CRIME OF RAPE.

    Your joint reaction came to mind recently, whilst listening again to the BBC's featuring of a Sudanes CHILD-SOLDIER TURNED HIP-HOP ARTISTE. Again, the feeling of disgust surfaced when I heard the BBC announcer basically mollycoddling this COOLLY SELF-CONFESSED EX-MURDERER! Essentially: "Recount for our gobal audience again the Graphic Horrors of your Lovely Crimes, Dear Boy!"

    In fact, the tone and nature of the questions posed to the young man (...i.e., who calmly spoke in hindsight about how satisfied the killings made him feel at the time..), made me question the journalistic rationale behind the whole piece. I mean – if we are creating a CULT/CLIQUE of GORE-VOYEURS, why not be honest enough to come right out and state this, when introducing the programmes?

    To do elsewise – as the BBC appears to be perverting its mandate so to do, is to make a SORDID MOCKERY of the global movement to RE-ESTABLISH WOMEN'S INALIENABLE HUMANITY, ESPECIALLY IN THE LUST/POWER-CLOUDED EYES OF MEN.

    I see this vital thrust for HUMAN RIGHTS being senselessly – not to mention dangerously eroded, when we continue to POSIT "KNOCK-KNEED" ARGUMENTS: i.e., hold argumentative positions that – futiely and unnaturally – walk in TWO CONFLICTING DIRECTIONS AT THE SAME TIME, IN ORDER TO GIVE THE MOCK-PIOUS APPEARANCE OF HAVING DULY TAKEN ALL POSITIONS INTO CONSIDERATION.

    In conclusion, therefore: I really cannot see how you – as a woman who otherwise appears poised to truly claim both her HUMAN, as well as her PROFESSIONAL space on this earth, can metaphorically pat your RAPIST/PROTAGONIST upon his well-beloved head! Especially within this global climate of horrendously BRUTAL, AND ARROGRANTLY INDISCRIMINATE ABUSE – BY MEN 0F ALL AGES – OF WOMEN/CHILDREN'S BODIES, AND FOR "GAINS" AS SORDID AND BASIC AS MEN'S CRIMINALLY-AFFORDED SEXUAL RELEASE, OR BULLIED EGOTISTICAL CATHARSIS.

    And yet you appear to do exactly this – essentially. For when your Rapist is "FORGIVEN" by you, after having merely cried a few (thwarted?) tears POST-CRIME, what – exactly are you saying to HIS "FELLOWMEN?" I refer here to SUDANESE and CONGOLESE "VULVA-WARRIORS!" So called Men who – even as I write these words, are at this moment rapturously engaged in plundering geographical village-spaces and bodily orifices alike, under some sickeningly MALE-BENEFICAL ploy of "SUBDUING A VILLAGE VIA RAPING ITS WOMEN!"

    What therefore will Africa – and indeed the World's men think of NEXT , under this same strategic schemata to? "LET US RAPE WOMEN...TO SHOW OUR DISSATISFACTION WITH THE WINNING SOCCER WORLD CUP TEAM?"

    I mean – think about it: a few hundred years ago...did ANY of us ever DREAM that any Thinking, Feeling so-called KINDRED HUMAN BEING – anywhere around our shared Globe, would dare to CONCOCT, far less POSIT that the basically CALCULATED, CALLOUS, OPPORTUNISTIC CRIME OF RAPE...was to be VIEWED, ACCEPTED, and LAMENTED AS "JUST ONE OF THOSE UNFORTUNATE THINGS THAT – "HAPPEN" – TO WOMEN DURING WAR?

    October 13, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  14. Alex Umole

    Dear Chimamanda, I am enthused at your stride to relevance and consequent significance, and recently I listened to your speech at TED with much admiration. Although I have not had the priviledge of reading any of your books, albeit I would like to know how the themes of your works reflect the current issues of the day i.e. Global warming, the global economy and Nuclear disarmament vis-a-vis how it affects Africa.

    October 13, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  15. tomilade olugbemi

    God bless you. keep the flag flying and no matter what happens never forget your roots and who you are.

    October 13, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  16. Josh

    Hi, What would you say was your inspiration for your first novel?

    October 13, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  17. Akposheri kennedy

    As a writter what do u think should be the ultimate about writing?

    October 13, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  18. ADEGIFT

    I'm proud of you.

    October 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  19. Ahaiwe Charles

    Adichie is real a model for Nigerian youth. Rebranding Nigeria is a thing of attitudinal change and am begging you to help in this crusade of rebranding project. Contributing your own little way will actually help in rebranding the nigerian youth who hold you at high esteem. Congratulation and more grease to your elbow.

    October 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  20. Lloyd A Vermont Sr

    Congrats on your literary success.
    Your are such a beautiful lady.

    October 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Reply

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