Accomplished Nigerian writer and author of ‘Americanah’, Ms Chimamanda Adichie has added to her array of degrees having been honoured with a ‘Doctor of Letters’ at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, United Kingdom.
The honorary doctorate degree was presented to the writer by the university’s Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, at a special ceremony at the school’s St Cecilia’s Hall – Scotland’s oldest concert hall.
At the ceremony, O’Shea stated that the award was given in recognition of Ms Adichie’s achievements as an author and public intellectual. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on July 5, 2017 received a similar honorary doctorate degree in recognition of his achievements as a public servant with strong commitments to equality and diversity.
Following the award presentation, head of the Scottish government, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon interviewed Chimamanda about her work and ideas at an event at Edinburgh International Book Festival in association with the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University.
Sturgeon is the first woman to occupy office as head of the Scottish government and undoubtedly an inspiration to many young women just like Chimamanda whose works on feminism and women empowerment have become study materials across the globe.
Aside giving a voice to women through her award winning novels – Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah – and a short story collection, The Thing around Your Neck, Chimamanda has also delivered speeches that have shaped the global conversation on race and gender.
Chimamanda’s TED talk, ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ was sampled by pop singer, Beyonce in one of her biggest hits, ‘Flawless’ released in 2013. Her most recent work, Dear Ijeawale, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, takes the form of a series of letters from the author to a friend about feminism and motherhood.
She is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship – a five-year grant awarded to individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work, and have the potential to demonstrate more in the future.
Earlier in the year, Chimamanda was elected as a Foreign Honorary Member into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and bagged another honorary degree from Haverford College, Pennsylvania in the United States of America in May 2017.
“It is lovely to be in this place, which is hallowed. I feel very fortunate to be included among the people who have been honoured with a degree from this University,” Adichie said.
Proposing Ms Adichie for the award of the degree, Dr Barbara Bompani, Director of the Centre of African Studies said there are many stories of the influence that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work has had on the lives, thoughts and creativity of others.
According to the director of the Centre of African Studies, Dr Barbara Bompani, Chimamanda, through her writing, advocacy and public engagement, “inspires all of us to better understand our own, and other peoples’ stories.”
During her visit, Chimamanda met with a group of African students participating in a scholarship programme at the university.
A clip from the ceremony is available below, courtesy of the University of Edinburgh: