Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun has been voted the best book to have won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in its 25-year history.
The one-off prize, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the award, was judged by members of the public, who were asked to name their favourite of the 25 winners. Adichie’s novel, which follows the lives of several characters caught up in the civil war in Nigeria in the late 1960s, beat titles including Zadie Smith’s On Beauty and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin.
More than 8,500 people voted, according to the prize.
“I’m especially moved to be voted Winner of Winners because this is the prize that first brought a wide readership to my work – and has also introduced me to the work of many talented writers,” Adichie said.
Now a household name and international bestseller thanks to novels including Americanah and her essay and TED talk We Should All Be Feminists, Adichie was just 29 when she won the Women’s prize for her second novel in 2007.
Founder of the Women’s Prize, Kate Mosse, said she was “thrilled” that Adichie had won an award that was intended to show that “great books live beyond their time”.
“One of the things that’s so fantastic about Chimamanda being the winner of winners is that a lot of younger readers are now coming to that novel, who probably didn’t read it when it came out. It’s felt like a really celebratory thing to be doing over this very strange year,” said Mosse.
The book was made into a film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton in 2013.