Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘For so long, we’ve seen history through the eyes of men’

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Joining our host Yomi Adegoke on the podcast this week is author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who you voted your Women’s Prize for Fiction ‘Winner of Winners‘ last year for her 2007-winning novel Half of a Yellow Sun. In this far-ranging conversation, she discusses the legacy of colonialism and its impact on her childhood in Nigeria; the women who “make me feel that feminism is a journey, it is one worth going on”; and why she doesn’t read reviews of her work.

Listen to the episode here, and read on for the five books that have most impacted her life and career.

The Joys of Motherhood

A powerful commentary on polygamy, patriarchy and women’s changing roles in urban Nigeria. First published in 1979 reprinted in Heinemann’s…

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“One of the things I like about this novel is how it’s very honest about women’s sexuality. This is a novel about how women’s choices are so limited by what society demands of women. But also, it’s about a sense of community and colonial Lagos.”

Invisible Women

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado-Perez brings together, for the first time, an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research…

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“This is fundamentally a book about how there’s a data gap in the world with everything, data gap between men and women. Reading this book, was very eye opening, and also taught to me a lot. You will read the book and you cannot at the end of it still claim that that our world has not been shaped by sexism.”

The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick

In the essays collected here Elizabeth Hardwick covers civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, describes places where she lived and…

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“I adore Elizabeth Hardwick because she just writes the best sentences. That’s it, really. She writes about things in a personal way, without making those things about her. And so you get a sense of the person that she was… when she’s making a case for something, it’s very clear. At the end of it, you know what she’s saying.”

The Middleman and Other Stories

Bharati Mukherjee’s work illuminates a new world of people in migration that has transformed the meaning of “America.” An aristocratic…

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“I read this in my first year in the U.S., in 1998. There’s a story in there called ‘The Management of Grief’, a subtle, beautiful moving story about a woman numb from grief. I remember reading it thinking this is the kind of story I want to write, I want to write a story that resonates with people. I think that the best compliment for a story is when a reader doesn’t forget it, and I just haven’t been able to forget Bharati Mukherjee’s story.”

Passbook Number F.47927: Women and Mau Mau in Kenya

Describing the events leading up to the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya in the 1950s, Muthoni Likimani looks at the…

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“The reason I loved this book is how important it is for us to see history through the eyes of women. Because for so long, we’ve seen history through the eyes of men. And obviously, seeing it through the eyes of men is important, because then we tell the full story, but the story is not complete, unless we’ve heard it from, from the point of view of women.”

You can listen to the full conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the Women’s Prize for Fiction Podcast here >

And make sure you subscribe as next week Yomi will be joined by former Women’s Prize for Fiction judge Sara Pascoe.

The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.