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Half of a Yellow Sun (2006)

Written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A masterly, haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as “the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe,” Half of a Yellow Sun re-creates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, and the chilling violence that followed.

With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of the decade. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor full of revolutionary zeal. Olanna is the professor’s beautiful mistress, who has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charisma of her new lover. And Richard is a shy young Englishman in thrall to Olanna’s twin sister, an enigmatic figure who refuses to belong to anyone. As Nigerian troops advance and the three must run for their lives, their ideals are severely tested, as are their loyalties to one another.

Epic, ambitious, and triumphantly realized, Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race—and the ways in which love can complicate them all. Adichie brilliantly evokes the promise and the devastating disappointments that marked this time and place, bringing us one of the most powerful, dramatic, and intensely emotional pictures of modern Africa that we have ever had. (Copyright © Knopf/Random House. All rights reserved.)

Source:  Penguin Random House Company.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who grew up in Nigeria, was shortlisted for the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing. Her work has been selected by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the BBC Short Story Awards and has appeared in various literary publications, including Zoetrope and The Iowa Review.

She went on to study medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria. She gained a scholarship to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia, and went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. She graduated summa cum laude from Eastern in 2001, and then completed a master's degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

Adichie released her first novel Purple Hibiscus in 2003. The book has received wide critical acclaim: shortlisted for the Orange Fiction Prize (2004) and awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (2005). Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, named after the flag of the short-lived nation of Biafra, is set before and during the Biafran War. It was awarded the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction.

In 2013 she published her third novel, Americanah which was selected by the New York Times as one of The 10 Best Books of 2013.

Adichie, who is married, divides her time between Nigeria, where she teaches writing workshops, and the United States.

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