Chimamanda Adichie hints at collaboration with Lupita Nyong’o on Americanah

Lupita Nyong'O
Lupita Nyong'O

Americanah won the US National Books Critics Circle Award on Friday.

Nigerian award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie, has hinted at a future “collaboration” with Oscar winning Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyong’o.

Adichie gave the tip during an interview on entertainment web-series, Arise Entertainment 360 published on YouTube Thursday.

According to Adichie, the collaboration will have to do with her 2013 novel, Americanah.

“I’m going to do the mysterious thing and say that Lupita might be making an announcement sometime soon – I don’t know. That announcement might be about Americanah – I don’t know,” she said coyly.

Adichie disclosed that Nyong’o was a very early fan of Americanah. “Before she was sort of well-known like she is now (…) she wrote me the loveliest email; very long and passionate email about Americanah.”

The critically-acclaimed book, which was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2013 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review, is a kind of romance novel about race relations in America from the point of view of a Nigerian transplant. It also highlights the lifestyle of the new Nigerian middle-class – mostly “post-democracy returnees” from the US and the UK.

On Friday, it won the National Books Critics Circle Award – one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the US, according to the UK Guardian.

The Entertainment 360 interview was, however, more focused on a soon-to-be-released movie based on Adichie’s novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.

The novel, which won the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction – now called the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, was centred on the Nigerian Civil War. Popularly called the Biafran war, it took place from 1967 to 1970.

Although Half of A Yellow Sun brought her lots of accolade and firmly placed her on the world literary stage, Adichie, however, noted that when she started writing the novel people who cared about her didn’t think it was a good idea.

“Because you are writing about the Biafran war, which is very much a contested part of (Nigerian) history. And which isn’t “cool.” And which at the time wasn’t Darfur. Because Darfur was kind of the sexy thing to– If you are going to do Africa, you have got to do Darfur,” she explained.

She also stated that she wrote about the war in order to start a conversation on it among her generation.

“I wanted to write about it because it’s also part of my family history. My grandfather died in a refugee camp and for me, the book has so much resonance and power. It’s not just a novel. It’s also my country’s history. I was hoping that my generation of Nigerians would start to talk about that period,” she said.

Adichie called the movie adaption a very beautiful film, praising the cinematography and acting.

Shot in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, the movie stars Academy Award nominee, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Gloria Young and Onyeka Onwenu, among others.

“It’s very much an ensemble cast of just fantastic acting all around,” Adichie remarked.

She also commended the movie director, Biyi Bandele. “I’ve very proud of Biyi and I’m very proud of the film,” said Adichie, who also noted that she never wrote the novel thinking that a movie would made out of it.

“I hope it does well,” she said.

Half of A Yellow Sun, the movie, will premiere simultaneously in Lagos, Nigeria and the UK in April.