Nigeria’s Chimamanda Adichie Elected into American Academy of Arts and Letters

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been elected as a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Chimamanda joins Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka who was elected in 1986.

Chimamanda was elected alongside 2 other foreigners.

The other foreign honorees are Kaija Saariaho, a Finnish composer, and Zadie Smith, an English writer.

The body disclosed this in a statement, adding that the newly elected members will be inducted at the annual induction and award ceremony in May.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers.

“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 organisation and Yehudi Wyner, president will induct three foreign honorary members,” the Academy said.

The 14 elected Americans who will be inducted in May are:


Mary Heilmann, artist
Julie Mehretu, artist
Annabelle Selldorf, architect
Stanley Whitney, artist


Henri Cole, poet
Junot Diaz, writer
Amy Hempel , writer
Edward Hirsch, poet
Ursula K. Le Guin, writer
Colum McCann, writer
Ann Pattchet, writer
Kay Ryan, poet


Melinda Wagner WAGNER, composer
Julia Wolfe, composer

The objective of the Academy include to “foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts” by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theatre, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.

Some of Chimamanda’s previous awards include, Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2007 (Half of a yellow Sun); The MacArthur Fellowship 2008 for Fiction and The PEN Open Book Award, 2007 (Half of a Yellow Sun).

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