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‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ wins Women’s Prize for Fiction

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Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel wins the Women’s Prize for Fiction ‘Winner of Winners’.

The public chose Chimamanda’s novel over a stellar-line up including Zadie Smith, the late Andrea Levy, Lionel Shriver, Rose Tremain and Maggie O’Farrell, amongst others.

This one-off award marks the culmination of the Prize’s year-long 25th anniversary celebrations, forming a key part of the Reading Women campaign which champions a quarter of a century of phenomenal winners.

Throughout 2020, thousands of readers embarked on a challenge to read all 25 previous winners of the Prize, joining the Prize’s digital bookclub to share their thoughts, and downloading the newly created online reading guides and exclusive author interviews. Over 8,500 people joined in the public vote in September.

Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s haunting novel, originally won the Women’s Prize for Fiction (then the Orange Prize) in 2007. Set in Nigeria during the Biafran War, the novel is about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class, race and female empowerment – and how love can complicate all of these things. First published in 2006, it garnered critical and popular acclaim around the world and was adapted into a film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton in the lead roles and was released worldwide in 2013.

Chimamanda, who is currently in Lagos, Nigeria, thanked the Prize for this special award. ‘I’m especially moved to be voted ‘Winner of Winners’ because this is the Prize that first brought a wide readership to my work – and has also introduced me to the work of many talented writers.’

Adichie will be presented with a specially-commissioned silver edition of the Prize’s annual statuette, known as the ‘Bessie’, which was originally created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven as part of the gift of an anonymous donor.

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