Photograph — John Rhoda

Nine years after its publication, Half of a Yellow Sun still proves to be a literary masterpiece and a hallmark of excellence as its author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is announced as the Best Winner for the last decade of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

By winning the “Best of the Best” award, Chimamanda has pitched her tent next to some of the finest female novelists in the world including Zadie Smith, Marilynne Robinson, Ali Smith, Rose Tremain, amongst others.

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (BWPFF) is one of the most prestigious, celebrated and successful literary awards in the world. Based in the United Kingdom, BWPFF celebrates full length fiction written by women across the globe. This explains the buzz surrounding the news of a Nigerian bagging the award against several international contenders.

Chimamanda expressed her enthusiasm about the award.

This award is well-deserved as Chimamanda’s other books like Purple Hibiscus and Americanah, speak volumes of her ingenuity, creativity and excellence. These books have been nominated and have won a number of awards.

Known as one of Africa’s foremost modern writers, Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus has scooped many awards, the most popular of which was the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for “Best First Book.” The book also bagged the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, got shortlisted for the Orange Prize for fiction, and long listed for the Man Booker Prize.

In 2014, Chimamanda emerged the winner of one of the most reputable literary prizes in the United States, the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) award for her book, Americanah, which was equally shortlisted for the BWPFF in the same year.

The Guardian described Americanah as, “impressive … and not afraid to pull its punches.” And The Washington Post said it has a hostile sincerity of portraying the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of Nigeria and the United States.

The book (Half of a Yellow Sun) was so impressive, Mauriel Gray, chair of the judges of BWPFF concluded that “Chimamanda’s achievement makes Half of a Yellow Sun not just a worthy winner of this most special of prizes, but a benchmark for excellence in fiction writing.”

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