Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ‘Connecting Cultures’ lecture at 2012 Commonwealth Lecture, organised by the Commonwealth Foundation took place at the magnificent 800 year old Guildhall in central London. Entitled “To Instruct and Delight: A Case For Realist Literature” Chimamanda sets the case for the writer as a citizen of the world.
The lecture celebrated the diverse mix of people across the Commonwealth united with shared values and vision where cultural expression in particular through writing is an essential means of identity and exchange. I first met Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at BBC Radio 4’s Book club – she had just won the Orange Prize for fiction and I was part of a studio audience that asked her questions about her novel.
Born in Nigeria she is the author of two novels ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, which won the Orange Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. The Thing Around Your Neck, her collection of stories, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in Africa.
Chimamanda’s lecture was an inspirational literary tour of the works that inspired her own writing and reading journey.
Her lecture ended with a roaring applause and standing ovation from everyone present. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes what she calls ’emotional truth’ in her novels, short stories, essays and poems. Her work is vibrant and well articulated and she has had a great impact on my writing.