Best-selling author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has rescheduled her initially planned appearance on Thursday, Oct. 25, and will now visit Sweet Briar College one week later, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, instead. As originally planned, Adichie will present a reading and lecture in Murchison Lane Auditorium in the Babcock Fine Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public, though seating will be limited. A book signing will follow.
Adichie first visited Sweet Briar in 2004 after the publication of her first novel, “Purple Hibiscus,” a coming-of-age story about a young woman in Nigeria in the midst of a military coup.
Her visit in November is part of Sweet Briar’s commitment to giving students the opportunity to meet and learn from thought leaders from around the world. Her work often addresses the complex challenges faced by women and asks important questions about the nature of feminism and female agency in the world. Her visit will also provide an opportunity to talk about the intersectionality of race and gender in the United States and around the world.
In preparation for Adichie’s visit, every returning student received a copy of her novel “Americanah,” which is the College’s common reading selection for this academic year. A love story about two young people whose paths diverge, “Americanah” is also a cutting — and at times funny — investigation of race, immigration, culture and ethnicity, and of the forces that seek to divide us. Throughout the fall, students have been discussing it, book-club style, in small groups with faculty members from across campus.
In addition to “Americanah,” Adichie’s essay “We Should All Be Feminists” was part of orientation at Sweet Briar for the past two years. The essay, adapted from her viral TEDx Talk of the same name, asks questions about what it means today to be a feminist.
Adichie’s reading is part of the College’s Writers Series and is made possible through the generosity of the Ewald Scholars Program. Professor of English and Creative Writing Carrie Brown, an award-winning author in her own right, is excited about Adichie’s visit.
“Literature allows us to think about the world in new ways,” Brown says. “Chimamanda’s work, particularly ‘Americanah,’ is important to us at Sweet Briar, because it raises questions that students are absolutely going to have to answer — for themselves — about how to find or forge their place in the world as women and as human beings, and about how they want to engage with people whose experiences might be unlike their own. I’m very much looking forward to the discussions we’ll have this fall. It’s my expectation that those conversations will bring us together and encourage all of us to consider the beauty of the wide variety of perspectives found in our own community.”
Brown talked about the event on WSLS 10’s Daytime Blue Ridge.
This event was originally scheduled for Oct. 25, but will now take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1.