Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born on September 15, 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria. Before her birth, Adichie's family lost nearly everything as a result of the Nigerian Civil War. She was raised in Nsukka, near the University of Nigeria. Her father, James Nwoye Adichie, was a professor of statistics and later became the deputy vice chancellor of the university. Her mother, Ifeoma Aidichie, was the university's first female registrar. Adichie is the fifth child in a family of six children. Her family is of Igbo descent.
Adichie enrolled at the University of Nigeria, where she studied medicine and pharmacy. After a year and a half, Adichie relocated to the United States to continue her studies. Although she did not originally study literature, Adichie nourished her longstanding interest in writing. She worked as an editor for her university's student-led publication, and she published both a collection of poems and a play before completing her undergraduate studies. She graduated with a B.A. summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2001. She went on to receive master's degrees from both John Hopkins University and Yale University.
From a young age, Adichie was inspired by Chinua Achebe's literary representation of Nigerian people. In 2003, Adichie published her first novel, entitled Purple Hibiscus. It was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. She was awarded the Orange Prize in 2007 for her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. In 2008, she received a MacArthur Fellowship. A collection of short stories, entitled The Thing Around Your Neck, was published in 2009.
Adichie's work centers around the themes of Nigerian culture, African identity in the United States, and feminism. In 2009, Adichie gave a TED Talk entitled "The Danger of a Single Story." The video clip later went viral on YouTube. In 2012, Adichie gave another TEDx talk called "We Should All be Feminists," which was later sampled in Beyonce's 2013 hit song, "***Flawless."
Adichie lives between the United States in Nigeria.