I have been itching to post this news all day, but Internet access at work was down until I left (Jeremy and Molara have blogged about this already).
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie last night won the Orange Prize for her exceptional book Half of a Yellow Sun. The Orange Prize is awarded yearly to an exceptional book published in the past year by a woman writer.
A few years ago my brother gave me Chimamanda's first book Purple Hibiscus for my birthday. I devoured it in a few days and scoured the Internet for her short stories. I read the short story also entitled Half of a Yellow Sun, which I enjoyed so much that I started to await the publication of the book with much bated breath. When I finally got my copy of Half of a Yellow Sun, I took in the size and balked slightly. I have difficulty finishing books these days, much less big books with 'serious' themes.
"A book about war? I'm not so sure ......" were my thoughts.
I needn't have worried. Half of a Yellow Sun was as much a story of this set of people who lived through the Biafran War as it was about the war itself. I'd love to say that I finished it at a sitting, unfortunately I can't say that (a result of my own easily distracted mind and growing inability to sit still and read). However, I finished it in what was a short time for me.
Prizes are not necessarily a sign of a great writer, but it's wonderful when a writer who is widely acknowledged to be exceptionally talented and skilled wins one.