Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Biafra Novel Snags ‘Winner of Winners’ Award

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has recently won the Women’s Prize for her Biafra-centred novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. The award was voted for by the public who deemed Adichie the “Winner of Winners”, a once-off award in celebration of the Women’s prizes 25th anniversary after having been founded in 1995 by Kate Mosse. She beat out previous winners Zadie Smith, Lionel Shriver, and Rose Tremain. The Women’s Prize, formerly known as the Orange Prize, brought Half of a Yellow Sun into prominence back in 2007.


The Women’s Prize announced the news on social media.

The Women’s Prize “Winner of Winners” was judged by members of the public who voted for their favourite author out of 25 previous winners. Adichie is reportedly moved by the win, remarking that it was the Women’s Prize that propelled her name as a novelist in 2007. Adichie was 29 when she won The Women’s Prize for Half of a Yellow Sun, her second novel after Purple Hibiscus.

Half of a Yellow Sun is a fictional take on the Biafra war which took place in Nigeria. Adichie weaves characters’ internal conflicts with the socio-political breakdown in Nigeria in the 1960s. The novel took the world by storm and has become a literary cult favourite. Adichie’s win proves that Half of a Yellow Sun has not waned in popularity and that it is a timeless classic.

“One of the things that’s so fantastic about Chimamanda being the winner of winners is that a lot of younger readers are now coming to that novel, who probably didn’t read it when it came out. It’s felt like a really celebratory thing to be doing over this very strange year,” Mosse commented to The Guardian.

According to the BBC, more than 8500 people reportedly participated in the vote. Half of a Yellow Sun was published in 2006 and adapted into a film in 2013 starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton. Mosse said that Half of a Yellow Sun is a future literary classic and that literary awards should celebrate more women.