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The Thing
Around Your Neck



In this stunning collection of short stories Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes of the difficulties Africans encounter living abroad or in their own homeland. She weaves the complicated strands of the immigrant experience with an elegant, calm spareness. She tells of homeland violence with a riveting understatement.

In the U.S. an African woman takes a job as a day nanny for an upwardly mobile couple: a white Jewish man who works long hours and an African-American woman, an artist who mysteriously remains in the basement.

In Nigeria an Igbo Christian medical student finds herself hiding with an uneducated Muslim woman from rioting Muslims who are taking machetes to the Christians.

In these and other stories, Adichie layers her storytelling with a multi-colored cultural fabric. Without explaining, without didacticism, she gives the readers new insight into a world they’re quite familiar with and familiarizes them with a foreign world fraught with historically intricate troubles. Throughout the widely varied tales, her protagonists, whether victims themselves, are called upon to behave humanely; this is the book’s exemplary achievement in the furthering of peace. For such vision and literary achievement, The Thing Around Your Neck is awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize runner-up prize.

— Nancy Zafris, 2010 finalist judge

Special Feature:

Click the image below to watch a 19 minute video featuring Chimamanda Adichie - "The danger of a single story" - from TEDGlobal 2009.

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2010 Fiction Runner-Up

Click to see award video
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(Click photo to see acceptance speech at awards dinner.)

Chimamanda Adichie
The Thing Around Your Neck

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Enugu, Nigeria, in 1977 and grew up in the town of Nsukka. She studied medicine at the University of nigeria before monving to the United States. She graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University and went on to receive her Masters in Creative Wiring from Johns Hopkins and, in 2008, her Masters in African Studies from Yale. She was a 2005-2006 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.

Adichie's work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The O. Henry Prize Stories, 2003; The New Yorker; Granata, the Financial Times; and Zoetrope. Her novel Half of a Yellow Sun, published by Knopf in 2006, won the Orange Broadband Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; it was a New York Times Notable Book and a People and Black Issues Book Review Best book of the Year. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, published in 2003, won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

Chimamanda Adichie's latest book is a collection of short stories titled The Thing Around Your Neck, published in the U.S. by Knopf.

A recipient of a 2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Adichie divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.

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