We're sad to admit that we didn't remember to celebrate the 40th birthday of superstar author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on 15 September, like we should've, but we have found a way to rectify the transgression.
Thanks to African literature blog Brittle Paper -- whose Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 25 Most Talked-About Moments of Her Career is a stellar record of the Nigerian-born author's rise to fame -- we are able to give you a condensed version that celebrates five times the author just totally owned life.
1. That time the Washington Post called her "the twenty-first-century daughter" of Chinua Achebe
After being rejected by a bunch of the major publishing houses, the author finally secured a deal with Algonquin in October 2003 to publish "Purple Hibiscus", the book that propelled her to literary stardom, and the reviews were conclusive: Adichie was the real deal, the next big one.
2. And then Chinua Achebe wrote the blurb for her 'Half Of A Yellow Sun'
In a full-circle moment, Chinua Achebe then wrote the intro to her next book.
"We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners," writes Achebe, "but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers. [She] knows what is at stake, and what to do about it. Her experimentation with the dual mandate of English and Igbo in perennial discourse is a case in point. Timid and less competent writers would avoid the complication altogether, but [she] embraces it because her story needs it. She is fearless, or would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria's civil war. Adichie came almost fully made."
3. When Oprah said Adichie's New York Times tribute to Michelle Obama was the best thing written about the former first lady
"That was one of the most beautiful things I'd read about you. I thought she summed it up for all of us," Oprah said during her farewell interview with Michelle Obama in the White House. And Michelle Obama said: "I wrote her a thank-you letter," and then, "That, that was... that moved me."
Read the conversation below,
Oprah: This is what Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche wrote. Did you see that piece?
Michelle: I did. I wrote her a thank-you letter.
Oprah: I know you don't read pieces, but that's one you should have read.
Michelle: I read that one.
Oprah: That was a piece.
Michelle: That was – that moved me.
Oprah: This was in The New York Times recently. And she said, "Because she said what she thought, and because she smiled only when she felt like smiling, and not constantly and vacuously, America's cheapest caricature was cast on her: The angry black woman." That's what she said.
Michelle: She said it well, too.
Oprah: And she said it well. But that was one of the most beautiful things I'd read about you. I thought she summed it up for all of us. But when you were labeled that angry black woman, was that one of the things that knocked you back a bit?
Michelle: That was one of those things that you just sort of think, "Dang, you don't even know me." You know? I mean, you just sort of feel like, "Wow, where'd that come from?"
4. Obiviously, the We Should All Be Feminists talk
Brittle Paper calls it: "It was here that her crossover began."
5. When she was nominated for a Grammy for that time Beyoncé sampled her writing. I mean.
This list isn't ordered, but this is pretty major. This is what Beyoncé said about Adichie after she sampled "We Should All Be Feminists" on her self-titled "Beyoncé" album. "I was immediately drawn to her," Beyoncé said. "She was elegant and her words were powerful and honest. Her definition of a feminist described my own feeling: equality of the sexes as it pertains to human rights, equal pay and sexuality. She called the men in her family feminists, too, because they acknowledged the need for equality." How can you actually top that?