Books

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun named best Women's Prize for Fiction winner from past 25 years

The 'Winner of Winners' prize was handed out to celebrate 25 years of the Women's Prize for Fiction. The winner was chosen through a public vote.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian American author whose works range from novels to short stories to nonfiction. (Wani Olatunde, Vintage Canada)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has won the Women's Prize For Fiction 'Winner of Winners' for her bestselling novel Half of a Yellow Sun.

The "Winner of Winners" prize was handed out to celebrate 25 years of the Women's Prize for Fiction. The winner was chosen through a public vote, selecting the best book from the 25 winners in the prize's history.

The Women's Prize for Fiction is a U.K. prize that recognizes the year's best novel written by a woman in English. Past winners include Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, Small Island by Andrea Levy, On Beauty by Zadie Smith.

Two Canadians have won the prize in its 25-year history. Toronto's Anne Michaels won in 1997 for her novel Fugitive Piecesand Winnipeg's Carol Shields won in 1998 for her novel Larry's Party.

The influential Nigerian author talked to Eleanor in 2009 about her short story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck, and her award-winning novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. 52:37

This year's winner was Irish writer Maggie O'Farrell for Hamnetpublished in Canada as Hamnet & Judith.

Half of a Yellow Sun is set just before and during the Nigerian Civil War — also known as the Biafran War — in the late 1960s. It is a vivid, ambitious and moving tale with themes of race, class, gender and identity.

Half of a Yellow Sun was adapted into a 2013 film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton.

Adichie is one of Nigeria's most prominent and celebrated writers. Her debut book Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Her 2013 novel Americanah won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks to guest host Kevin Sylvester about her latest book "Americanah," a story about love, race, and the politics of hair. 37:17

To acknowledge her "Winners of Winners" prize, Adichie will be presented with a silver edition of the prize's statuette, known as the "Bessie."

"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 said in a statement.

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