Chimamanda Adichie, Nigeria’s feminist-cum-writer, will receive a honorary ‘Doctor of Humane Letters’ (LHD) degree at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League varsity in the US.


LHD honors are usually conferred to deserving individuals who have distinguished themselves in areas other than science, government, literature or religion.

Aside from the degree she’ll receive in May, Adichie was also selected as the commencement speaker for the 264th Penn class’ graduation ceremony, which is to hold on the 18th of the same month.

Amy Gutmann, Penn University president, while making the announcement, said the institution is honoured to bestow its “highest degree” on the celebrated writer.


According to Gutmann, her “compelling narratives and absolutely fascinating commentary on complex cultural issues elevate the power of the individual voice.”

Adichie’s commencement speech at Penn will make her the first black woman to deliver the address since 1978, when Patricia Harris, the then-housing and urban development secretary, spoke.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including in 2008, a Macarthur Fellowship, popularly known as the Macarthur Genius Award. She also received fellowships at Princeton University and the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University.


The 42-year-old earned the awards through her works including ‘Purple Hibiscus’, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, and ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, all of which have been translated into several languages.

In January 2019, Adichie became the first Nigerian to receive the United Nations Foundation’s Global Leadership Award.

She has also received 14 Honorary Doctorate degrees from leading universities around the world, including her alma mater, Yale University.

She was earlier named alongside Oprah Winfrey and Melinda Gates among those to be celebrated in National Geographic’s book ‘Portrait of Power’.


Amid her waxing social influence, the novelist made the New African’s list of ‘100 Most Influential Africans’, New Yorker’s ’20 under 40′, and Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People’.

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