Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wins 2018 PEN Pinter Prize, for 'outstanding literary merit'

The prize, created in honour of late Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, is awarded to a writer who gazes upon the world and shows a 'fierce intellectual determination… to define the real truth of our lives and our societies.'
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's latest book is Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. (Avery Cunliffe)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has won the 2018 PEN Pinter Prize.

The prize, created in honour of late Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, is awarded annually to a writer of "outstanding literary merit," who casts an "unflinching, unswerving" gaze upon the world and shows a "fierce intellectual determination… to define the real truth of our lives and our societies," as said by Pinter himself in his 2005 Nobel speech.

Antonia Fraser, biographer and Pinter's widow, lauded Adichie for representing "those qualities of courage and outspokenness which Harold much admired."

The Nigerian writer is no stranger to acclaim for her works exploring the complexities of race, identity and social inequality. Adichie's debut book Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth writers' prize. In 2006, her novel Half of a Yellow Sun received the Orange Prize. Americanah earned her the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2013.

Adichie's 2012 Ted Talk, We Should All Be Feminists, was later made into a book-length essay. Her latest book is called Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.

The judging panel, including Maureen Freely, chair of trustees for English PEN, Alex Clark, Philippe Sands and Inua Ellams, as well as Fraser, highlighted Adichie's "refusal to be deterred or detained by the categories of others."

"I admired Harold Pinter's talent, his courage, his lucid dedication to telling his truth, and I am honoured to be given an award in his name," said Adichie.

Salman Rushdie, Carol Ann Duffy and Margaret Atwood are among past winners of the award.

Adichie will be awarded on Oct. 9, 2018. As this year's winner, she will also choose the recipient of the 2018 International Writer of Courage, given to an international author working "in defence of freedom of expression, often at great risk to their own safety and liberty." 

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