Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was announced the Women’s Prize for Literature “Winner of Winners” on November 11, 2020.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award celebrating & honouring fiction written by women. Founded in 1996, the Prize was set up to celebrate originality, accessibility, and excellence in writing by women and to connect world-class writers with readers everywhere.
Winners of the prize have been Helen Dunmore (1996), Anne Michaels (1997), Carol Shields (1998), Suzanne Berne (1999), Linda Grant (2000), Kate Grenville (2001), Ann Patchett (2002), Valerie Martin (2003), Andrea Levy (2004), Lionel Shriver (2005), Zadie Smith (2006), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2007), Rose Tremain (2008), Marilynne Robinson (2009), Barbara Kingsolver (2010), Téa Obreht (2011), Madeline Miller (2012), A. M. Homes (2013), Eimear McBride (2014), Ali Smith (2015), Lisa McInerney (2016), Naomi Alderman (2017), Kamila Shamsie (2018), Tayari Jones (2019), and Maggie O’Farrell (2020). From this list of 25, you will note that there have been three Black writers and only one African.
The team organising the prize announced earlier in the year that they were looking to see the “Winner of Winners,” selected by a popular vote from readers, as part of their 25-anniversary celebrations.
The winner for the award was overwhelmingly voted to be Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for her novel Half of a Yellow Sun. Set in Nigeria during the Biafran War, the novel is about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class, race, and female empowerment – and how love can complicate all of these things. There was no challenge to this vote unlike in alleged “advanced democracies.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said: ‘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.’
She will be presented with a silver edition of the Prize’s annual statuette, known as the ‘Bessie’, which was originally created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven as part of the gift of an anonymous donor. It will be an online event on December 6, 2020.