Between the Lines Book Club: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

between the lines book club logoThis month in Book Club we are reading Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. If you are in Sacramento, join us in person at Arden Dimick Library for our 4th Saturday book club at 10:30AM on Saturday November 21. If you are joining us online, leave your comments below!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977. She left Nigeria for the United States when she was nineteen, where she attended university in Philadelphia and Connecticut. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from John Hopkins, a Masters in African Studies form Yale, and has had fellowships at Princeton and Harvard. The Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Website has a more detailed biography, as well as links to several of her interviews and essays.


Chimamanda’s first works were poems and short stories. She published a novel, Purple Hibiscus, in 2005, and a second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, in 2007. She has also published a short story anthology, The Thing Around Your Neck. All of her books have been critically acclaimed.

Here are two Ted Talks by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

We Should All Be Feminists

A section of this talk was sampled by Beyonce in her song, “Flawless.”:

We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller
We say to girls: “You can have ambition, but not too much
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful
Otherwise, you will threaten the man”
Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important
Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are
Feminist: a person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes

She also did a Ted Talk called “The Danger of a Single Story.” In it, she makes this already iconic statement:

The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.