Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is billed to be one of the recipients of an honorary degree from Duke University come May 13th, as announced recently by Vincent E. Price, President of Duke University. The award is said to be in recognition of Adichie’s contribution to society.
Adichie will be awarded alongside six other individuals who have been leaders in their respective fields and have also contributed immensely to society. They include Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO General Motors; Phil Freelon, lead architect for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; former Durham Mayor William Bell; Dr. William Kaelin, professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Russell M. Robinson II, attorney, community leader and philanthropist.
According to President Price, they all have been bold leaders in their respective fields, enriching and improving lives with their works. “I am delighted to have the honour of awarding their degrees, and I am certain that the graduating Class of 2018 will be inspired by their example”, he said.
Adichie’s Americanah was selected as the first-year summer reading assignment for Duke’s Class of 2018. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 2013 and was recently listed by the New York Times as one of 15 books written by women that shape the way individuals read and write fiction in the 21st century.
“Americanah” is a resonant and fiercely intellectual novel about a Nigerian woman named Ifemelu who leaves Africa for America and suffers here before starting a blog … Adichie works both high and low; she’s as adept at dissecting internet and hair salon culture as she is at parsing the overlapping and ever-changing meanings of class and race in the United States. “Americanah” brings news, on many fronts, about how a new generation of immigrants is making its way in the world. It has lessons for every human about how to live”, writes Dwight Garner.
This announcement by Duke regarding Adichie comes as little or no surprise as we are quite accustomed to Adichie getting the recognition she deserves year in, year out. In April 2017, Adichie was elected into the 237th class of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Two years ago, she was awarded an honorary degree by the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, United States
A world-renowned feminist and cultural critic, Adichie has become quite influential on the global stage over the years, continually gaining recognition and amassing awards and prizes. In 2008, she won a MacArthur Foundation genius grant. In 2015, she was listed among Time’s 100 most influential people. Later that year, Adichie received the award for the ‘Best of The Best’ female fiction writer for the last decade by the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and also made the list of 100 most influential Africans by the New African Magazine.