Nigerian novelist, nonfiction writer and short story writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has been named as an honourary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters – becoming the second Nigerian in the academy, after Prof. Wole Soyinka.
She will be honoured alongside Kaija Saariaho, a composer from Finland and Zadie Smith, a writer from England.
According to a press release by the Academy, the honourary members will be inducted at the annual induction in May 2017.
It read in part: “When the American Academy of Arts and Letters holds its annual induction and award ceremony in mid-May, Calvin Trillin, secretary, will induct fourteen members into the 250-person organization and Yehudi Wyner, president will induct three foreign honorary members.
“Joyce Carol Oates will deliver the centennial Blashfield Foundation Address. An exhibition of art, architecture, books, and manuscripts by new members and recipients of awards will be on view in the galleries from May 18 to June 11.”
With this development, the Half of a Yellow Sun writer becomes the second Nigerian to be inducted into the academy after Soyinka, a Nobel laureate, who was inducted in 1986.
The newly elected members of the Academy are as follows:
MARY HEILMANN, artist JULIE MEHRETU, artist ANNABELLE SELLDORF, architect STANLEY WHITNEY, artist
HENRI COLE, poet JUNOT DÍAZ, writer AMY HEMPEL, writer EDWARD HIRSCH, poet URSULA K. LE GUIN, writer COLUM McCANN, writer ANN PATCHETT, writer KAY RYAN, poet
MELINDA WAGNER, composer JULIA WOLFE, composer
Foreign Honorary Members:
CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE, writer of Nigeria KAIJA SAARIAHO, composer of Finland ZADIE SMITH, writer of England