Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is ‘worthy winner’


Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has won this year’s PEN Pinter Prize.

Named in memory of playwright Harold Pinter, the prize celebrates his respect for British and Commonwealth writers who take an “unflinching, unswerving” look at the world.

The judges praised Adichie’s “sophisticated” approach to “gender, race and global inequality”.

The Half of a Yellow Sun author described the award as an “honour”.

“I admired Harold Pinter’s talent, his courage, his lucid dedication to telling his truth,” she said.

Adichie will receive the award – established by literary charity English PEN – at a ceremony at the British Library in October, where she will deliver an address.

This will include announcing the writer named this year’s International Writer of Courage, reflecting English PEN’s support for freedom of expression in the face of danger.

A limited edition anthology of 10 Pinter Prize lectures will be printed to celebrate the prize’s 10th anniversary.

Outspoken feminist

Adichie’s debut novel, Purple Hibiscus, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2003. It was followed three years later by Orange Prize winner Half of a Yellow Sun.

An outspoken feminist, she delivered two hotly debated Ted talks that were published as a book titled Why We Should All Be Feminists in 2014.

Lady Antonia Fraser, Harold Pinter’s widow, said she greeted the award of the prize with enthusiasm.

“Not only is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a brilliant, compelling writer but she embodies in herself those qualities of courage and outspokenness which Harold much admired,” she said.

Antonia Byatt, director of English PEN, said Adichie’s writing and activism had “travelled across so many frontiers, showing us what is important in the world”.

“She is a very worthy winner of this extraordinary prize.”

The PEN Pinter Prize is awarded annually to a writer from Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth.

Recent recipients include Margaret Atwood, Sir Salman Rushdie and the poet James Fenton.