SENTINEL POETRY
ONLINE MAGAZINE MONTHLY <  ISSUE #12  <  NOVEMBER 2003  <  ISSN 1479-425X

"Do NOT copy John Grisham.
Write our own stories."
-Adichie


Soon afterwards, she left for Drexel University in the United States, like Achebe before her abandoning the study of medicine for writing and the arts, in her case, to study communication.

It was in the United States that her abilities began to gain wider recognition, one of her short stories appearing in  Zoetrope, an online magazine. That story,
You in America, which explored a Nigerian Igbo immigrant girl's experience in the US, earned her a nomination for the Caine Prize in 2002, won the year before by Habila. She, unfortunately, did not win , but the exposure was good for her and at about this time, her first novel, Purple Hibiscus was accepted by Algonquin Press in the United States. She has subsequently gone on to garner a string of creative writing scholarships and prizes including the O Henry Award and the PEN/David Wong Prize which she won for her poignant short story, set in Biafra, Half of a Yellow Sun, which was published in the prestigious Zoetrope All-Story. She also completed her degree in communications with politics as a minor at  Eastern Connecticut State University, graduating summa cum laude.

Purple Hibiscus  has just been  released by Algonquin Press in the United States and will be published  early next year in the United Kingdom by Fourth Estate.The Australian, Spanish, Dutch and German rights have been sold. Home is Where the Heart Was, her stirring account of a recent visit to Nsukka, published in Topic magazine in the UK  inspired me to think about putting together an anthology to be titled Umu Nsukka: The Children of Nsukka ,  in celebration of the small university town where we grew up. Her work has also appeared in Wasafiri, PRISM International, Calyx and the Iowa Review
Purple Hibiscus, an account of a young girl growing up in  contemporary Eastern Nigeria has been described as "a stunning debut that captures the fragile beauty of a young woman's awakening at a time when both country and family are on the cusp of change". Nobel prize winner J M Coetzee describes it as " sensitive and touching" and Jason Cowley, past Booker Prize judge has called Purple Hibiscus  "seductive, tender and true, the best debut I have read since Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things". In addition it has been voted one of the best books of the year by  the Black Issues Book Review.

Excited by these developments, I recently persuaded this young (just 26 years old!) writer to answer a few questions

Ike Anya (IA): Is Purple Hibiscus in the bookstores yet? Or is it just available online? When will it be out?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (CNA):
It's in stores in the US (I've actually just come back from a reading at school, sponsored by my department. I'm doing a six-state book tour and I start on Thursday (the 9th of October) with a reading in a bookstore in Harlem, New York

It is also available online at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com
It will be out in the UK on March 1, 2004

IA: Chimamanda is a very unusual Igbo name. What does it mean? I guess I could translate it literally as "My God will never fall" but do you have a different translation/concept?

CNA:
Yes, the literal is fine. Also -- my spirit is unbreakable? Ha! Seriously, the literal is fine, and of course all gods are in danger of falling so it makes sense.

Continues>>>

GUEST POET:
TOYIN ADEWALE-GABRIEL
About the poet
Poems

ERNEST DEMPSEY
Two Poems

CHIKA UNIGWE
Two Poems

INTERVIEWS:

IKE ANYA
In The Footsteps of Chinua Achebe: Enter CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE read>>>

NNOROM AZUONYE
My E-Conversation with
TOYIN ADEWALE-GABRIEL
read>>>

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