The prize which is a one-off award to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Prize for Fiction award forms a key part of our Reading Women campaign which champions a quarter of a century of phenomenal winners.
Throughout 2020, thousands of readers embarked on a challenge to read all 25 previous winners of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, joining the Prize’s digital bookclub to share their thoughts and over 8,500 people joined in the public vote in September.
The Winner of Winners prize was judged by members of the public, who were asked to name their favourite of the 25 past winners.
Adichie’s haunting novel – which was first published in 2006 – follows the lives of three central characters as they navigate life during the Biafran War in Nigeria.
The public chose Adichie’s novel over a stellar-line up including Zadie Smith, the late Andrea Levy, Lionel Shriver, Rose Tremain and Maggie O’Farrell, amongst others.
Half of a Yellow Sun originally won the Women’s Prize for Fiction (then the Orange Prize) in 2007. Set in Nigeria during the Biafran War, the novel is about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class, race and female empowerment – and how love can complicate all of these things.
Following its publication, it garnered critical and popular acclaim around the world and was adapted into a film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton in the lead roles and was released worldwide in 2013.
Chimamanda, who is currently in Lagos State, Nigeria, thanked the Prize for this special award.
I’m especially moved to be voted ‘Winner of Winners’ because this is the Prize that first brought a wide readership to my work – and has also introduced me to the work of many talented writers.
Adichie will talk further about her writing and being chosen for the ‘Winner of Winners’ award in an exclusive live online event hosted by Founder Director Kate Mosse and the Women’s Prize for Fiction on Sunday 6 December at 7pm GMT.
The Women’s Prize for Fiction is awarded for the best full-length novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom.
The Prize champions excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing, and the winner receives a cheque for £30,000, anonymously endowed, along with a limited edition bronze statuette known as the ‘Bessie’, created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven.
Since her win in 2007 at the age of 29, Adichie has become an international bestseller and her work – which includes her 2013 novel Americanah and her 2014 essay We Should All Be Feminists – continues to be read all over the world. Her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions, was published in 2017.
Most recently, it was announced that Americanah was being adapted into a mini-series for HBO starring the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Uzo Abuda and Zackary Momoh.
Congratulations to Chimamanda Adichie!