Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie coming to Washington-area library

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Americanah" won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in New York on March 13, 2014. (Photo credit Ivara Esege)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Americanah” won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in New York on March 13, 2014. (Photo credit Ivara Esege)

Lots of people were delighted to see Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah” win the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction Thursday night in New York. But a woman in a library 200 miles away was particularly excited.

Lisa Bankman, the events manager for the Howard Country Library system, in Maryland, knew that she had already signed up Adichie to speak at the Miller branch on March 25.

“I arranged this last fall when her publicist was planning her paperback tour,” Bankman says. “I had previously tried to schedule a visit when ‘Americanah‘ was released in hardcover but received no reply.” Call it serendipity or a librarian’s clairvoyance, but now the Howard Country library will be able to bring in this literary star less than two weeks after her latest success at the NBCC awards ceremony.

Ten years ago, Adichie earned a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. In her  acceptance speech Thursday night at the New School, she thanked her teacher, Washington-area novelist Alice McDermott, who was also a finalist for this year’s NBCC fiction prize.

 

Adichie, perhaps the only MacArthur “genius” to appear in a Beyoncé video, splits her time between Columbia, Md., and her native Nigeria. “She’s a registered customer at HCLS, and we love her here,” Bankman says. “I’m almost certain that we’ve featured all of her books in library-sponsored book discussions.”

“Americanah,” Adichie’s third novel, was also included in The Washington Post’s “Notable Fiction” list for 2013.

To attend the March 25 reading at the Howard Country library, you’ll need to register online or call 410-313-1950.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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