“Lupita Nyong’o’s Adaptation Of ‘Americanah’ Is Not A Measure Of Success For Me” – Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda grants a rather blunt interview to American Vogue.


We simply can’t get enough of award-winning writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! From winning the Orange Prize to having international pop star, Beyonce ask to (and if fact use) sample her TED Talk on feminism for her song titled, “Flawless” to being profiled as “the most prominent”, Chimamanda seems to be reaching for the skies.

She was recently on American Vogue to shed more light on her feats.

Read excerpts from her interview:

What was it like to have your ideas about feminism go so viral?

It felt strange and surprising. I had done one TED Talk and I felt that I had already said what I could, in fact, say, and I didn’t think I had anything else worth talking about. But then I also realized the one thing I cared about is gender, feminism. So I said, “Okay, I’ll do it.” But I thought, This is not going to be popular, because it’s obvious that feminism for many people is a bad word, even if you believe in it, the word is off-putting. I thought seven people would care. I was surprised, but pleasantly so.

Chimamanda Adichie

Was it received in ways that you hadn’t anticipated?

I was surprised that some of the young men that I’ve heard from, mostly Nigerians, who I thought of as so retrograde that they could not be saved, actually started to think about and talk about gender. I heard from a friend who works in Lagos that it started this intense debate at her work, and not that everyone was so wonderful, but that at least people were talking about it. We don’t really talk about gender, and I’m very much a believer in the power of discourse, in having conversations, of trying to reach out.

Chimamanda Adichie

Is it important to speak to men as much as to women?

Yes, absolutely. When I think about gender, I think it’s a shame that it’s thought of as women’s business. Why aren’t men interested? It concerns both. The ideas are harmful to women, but to accept them also reduces men, the ability, the intelligence, the way so many people would be so much happier if we raised boys differently. I really do believe that men and women should all be feminists.

Chimamanda Adichie


What was your first thought when Beyoncé asked if she could sample the song?

I’m so bored by this question, but I will say that I’m happy that my thirteen-year-old niece calls herself a feminist—not because I made the speech, but because of Beyoncé. Having attained the status of “cool” to my niece is wonderful.

Chimamanda Adichie

Your 2013 book Americanah is being made into a movie by Lupita Nyong’ o. Does that kind of Hollywood exposure frighten you a little?

I don’t really think very much about it. I’m just sitting here trying to write a good sentence. The kind of fiction I write isn’t the kind of fiction that Angelina Jolie and George Clooney seem likely to make into a movie, so you don’t think it’s going to happen. Particularly with Americanah, I was writing the book I was trying to write and having fun, and I never thought it would translate into a movie. But also, I just think that books are much more interesting than films, and there’s a part of me that resents that the world is much more interested in movies. People say, “Congratulations, you have a film!” But I think, What about the book?

I will say, particularly because it’s Lupita, who I admire very much, I’m excited. I love the space that she occupies. I love that she exists. So I’m quite happy. But it’s not for me a measure of success.

Chimamanda Adichie

What is a measure for success?

Being read. Being read by people who get it. For me, success is that I have a book out and maybe I get an email from a friend of a friend who I don’t really know that speaks to what the book is about. That people get it: That can keep me depression-free for a month. That it means something to someone else, particularly in a positive way. A woman said to me, “Your book made me feel less alone.” That is success.

Chimamanda Adichie


Chimamanda’s book, “Half Of A Yellow Sun” has been adapted into a Nigerian movie with the same title and stars outstanding actors such as Genevieve Nnaji, OC Ukeje and international acts: Anika Noni Rose, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton amongst others.


Inserts: American Vogue

Photo Credit: Mary Ebele | Centric 


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