Harvard To Honour Chimamanda Adichie With W.E.B Du Bois Medal

Oluwatukesi Oritsetsemaye  
Updated September 26, 2022
A photo of Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche


Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is set to be awarded the W.E.B Du Bois Medal by Harvard.

The medal will be presented on the 6th of October, 2022.

The W.E.B Du Bois medal which has not been awarded to anyone since the beginning of the pandemic is the highest honour given by Harvard in the field of African and African American studies.

Harvard made the announcement via their Twitter handle. Fellow recipients of the award include activist and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, award-winning actress Laverne Cox, Patron of Arts and Education Agnes Gund.

Chimamanda is known for her elegant storytelling and her advocacy for gender equality.  She was also a speaker at the Harvard College Class Day in 2018 and was previously a Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellow between 2011 and 2012.

A professor of the university and director of the Hutchins centre said in a statement that,

“Whether they’ve distinguished themselves in the arts, civic life, education, athletics, activism, or any combination of the above, these medalists show in all that they do their unyielding commitment to pushing the boundaries of representation and creating opportunities for advancement and participation for people who have been too often shut out from the great promise of our times.”

The medal allows her to join the list of trailblazers like Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Ava Duvernay, Dave Chappelle, Queen Latifah, Nasir “Nas” Jones, John Lewis, Steven Spielberg, athlete-activist Colin Kaepernick, and others who are past recipients of the medal.

Chimamanda has been described by The New York Times T Magazine in its 2017 ‘Greats’ issue, as ‘one of those rarest of people: a celebrated novelist who has also become a leading public intellectual’.

Former president of the U.S, Barack Obama, called her “one of the world’s great contemporary writers;” and Hillary Clinton has written that “she has the rare ability, to sum up even the biggest societal problems swiftly and incisively.”

Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Her second, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), won the Orange Prize for Fiction the world’s most prestigious annual book award for fiction written by a woman.

She has received 16 honorary PhDs and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.