74+ Best Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer whose works range from novels to short stories to nonfiction. Profoundly inspirational Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie quotes will make you look at life differently and help you live a meaningful life.

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Famous Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

If I were not African, I wonder whether it would be clear to me that Africa is a place where the people do not need limp gifts of fish but sturdy fishing rods and fair access to the pond. I wonder whether I would realize that while African nations have a failure of leadership, they also have dynamic people with agency and voices. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Lasting love has to be built on mutual regard and respect. It is about seeing the other person. I am very interested in relationships and, when I watch couples, sometimes I can sense a blindness has set in. They have stopped seeing each other. It is not easy to see another person. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue; I did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America. When you are black in America and you fall in love with a white person, race doesn’t matter when you’re alone together because it’s just you and your love. But the minute you step outside, race matters. But we don’t talk about it. We don’t even tell our white partners the small things that piss us off and the things we wish they understood better, because we’re worried they will say we’re overreacting, or we’re being too sensitive. And we don’t want them to say, Look how far we’ve come, just forty years ago it would have been illegal for us to even be a couple blah blah blah, because you know what we’re thinking when they say that? We’re thinking why the fuck should it ever have been illegal anyway? But we don’t say any of this stuff. We let it pile up inside our heads and when we come to nice liberal dinners like this, we say that race doesn’t matter because that’s what we’re supposed to say, to keep our nice liberal friends comfortable. It’s true. I speak from experience. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I must have been an annoying child. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I ask questions. I watch the world. And what I have discovered is that the parts of my fiction that people most tell me are unbelievable are those that are most closely based on the real, those least diluted by my imagination. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Some people ask Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that? Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Successful fiction does not need to be validated by real life; I cringe whenever a writer is asked how much of a novel is real. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Because gender can be uncomfortable, there are easy ways to close this conversation. Some people will bring up evolutionary biology and apes, how female apes bow to male apes that sort of thing. But the point is this we are not apes. Apes also live in trees and eat earthworms. We do not. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I look young. I heard this said so often that it became irritating. I once worked as a babysitter for a woman who, the first time we met, said she didn’t want somebody in high school. I was 22. Later, I realised that in certain places being female and looking young meant it was more difficult to be taken seriously, so I turned to make up. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americans think African writers will write about the exotic, about wildlife, poverty, maybe AIDS. They come to Africa and African books with certain expectations. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me? Aunty Ifeka said. Your life belongs to you and you alone. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Sometimes novels are considered important in the way medicine is they taste terrible and are difficult to get down your throat, but are good for you. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Perhaps it is time to debate culture. The common story is that in real African culture, before it was tainted by the West, gender roles were rigid and women were contentedly oppressed. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My greatest vanity is my skin. It is the colour of gingerbread and, thanks to my mother’s genes, smooth and mostly blemish free. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What I find problematic is the suggestion that when, say, Madonna adopts an African child, she is saving Africa. It’s not that simple. You have to do more than go there and adopt a child or show us pictures of children with flies in their eyes. That simplifies Africa. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I think that because human difference for so long, in all its various forms, has been the root of so much oppression, sometimes there’s the impulse to say let’s deny the difference, as though by wishing away the difference we can then wish away the oppression. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I think it’s possible to have been a happy child, as I was, and still question and push back with regard to societal conventions. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This was love a string of coincidences that gathered significance and became miracles. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Girls are socialised in ways that are harmful to their sense of self to reduce themselves, to cater to the egos of men, to think of their bodies as repositories of shame. As adult women, many struggle to overcome, to unlearn, much of that social conditioning. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likable. We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I think white women need to wake up and say, Not all women are white, three times in front of the mirror. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In particular I want to talk about natural black hair, and how it’s not just hair. I mean, I’m interested in hair in sort of a very aesthetic way, just the beauty of hair, but also in a political way what it says, what it means. Ngozi Adichie

Why did people ask What is it about? as if a novel had to be about only one thing. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I have my father’s lopsided mouth. When I smile, my lips slope to one side. My doctor sister calls it my cerebral palsy mouth. I am very much a daddy’s girl, and even though I would rather my smile wasn’t crooked, there is something moving for me about having a mouth exactly like my father’s. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Race doesn’t really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don’t have that choice. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Nobody just leaves medical school, especially given it’s fiercely competitive to get in. But I had a sister who was a doctor, another who was a pharmacist, a brother who was an engineer. So my parents already had sensible children who would be able to make an actual living, and I think they felt comfortable sacrificing their one strange child. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A woman at a certain age who is unmarried, our society teaches her to see it as a deep personal failure. And a man, after a certain age isn’t married, we just think he hasn’t come around to making his pick. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The best novels are those that are important without being like medicine; they have something to say, are expansive and intelligent but never forget to be entertaining and to have character and emotion at their centre. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

For me, feminism is a movement for which the end goal is to make itself no longer needed. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

There are some things that are so unforgivable that they make other things easily forgivable. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

It is easy to romanticize poverty, to see poor people as inherently lacking agency and will. It is easy to strip them of human dignity, to reduce them to objects of pity. This has never been clearer than in the view of Africa from the American media, in which we are shown poverty and conflicts without any context. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I recently spoke at a university where a student told me it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had recently read a novel called American Psycho,and that it was a shame that young Americans were serial murderers. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Nigerian politics has been, since the military dictatorships, largely non ideological. Rather than a battle of ideas, it is about who can pump in the most money and buy the most access. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I’m a nice middle class girl. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity. Chimamanda Adichie

If you followed the media you’d think that everybody in Africa was starving to death, and that’s not the case; so it’s important to engage with the other Africa. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The knowledge of cooking does not come pre installed in a vagina. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I am a person who believes in asking questions, in not conforming for the sake of conforming. I am deeply dissatisfied about so many things, about injustice, about the way the world works and in some ways, my dissatisfaction drives my storytelling. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

How easy it was to lie to strangers, to create with strangers the versions of our lives we imagined. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I find that women deal with immigration differently. And I’m interested in that. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Dear Non American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanaian. America doesn’t care. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I live half the year in Nigeria, the other half in the U.S. But home is Nigeria it always will be. I consider myself a Nigerian who is comfortable in the world. I look at it through Nigerian eyes. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Then she wished, more rationally, that she could love him without needing him. Need gave him power without his trying; need was the choicelessness she often felt around him. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

While writing Half of a Yellow Sun, I enjoyed playing with minor things inventing a train station in a town that has none, placing towns closer to each other than they are, changing the chronology of conquered cities. Yet I did not play with the central events of that time. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

She rested her head against his and felt, for the first time, what she would often feel with him a self affection. He made her like herself. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

To return to the books of my childhood is to yield to the strain of nostalgia that is curious about the self I once was. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

There are people, she once wrote, who think that we cannot rule ourselves because the few times we tried, we failed, as if all the others who rule themselves today got it right the first time. It is like telling a crawling baby who tries to walk, and then falls back on his buttocks, to stay there. As if the adults walking past him did not all crawl, once. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

No Sweetness Here is the kind of old fashioned social realism I have always been drawn to in fiction, and it does what I think all good literature should It entertains you. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious to me is just as obvious to everyone else. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The problem with looking in the mirror is that you never know how you will feel about what you see. Sometimes, when my hormones are out of sync, I have no interest in the mirror, and if I do look I think everything is all wrong. Other times, I am quite pleased with what I see. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

You can’t write a script in your mind and then force yourself to follow it. You have to let yourself be. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I think the history of western feminism is one that is fraught with racism, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that and, at the same time, to say that feminism is not the western invention, that my great grandmother in what is now South western Nigeria is feminist. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Relaxing your hair is like being in prison. You’re caged in. Your hair rules you. You didn’t go running with Curt today because you don’t want to sweat out this straightness. You’re always battling to make your hair do what it wasn’t meant to do. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I’ve always been curious about how much of our cultural baggage we bring to what and how we read. I suspect we bring a lot, although we like to think we don’t. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I don’t think it’s a good thing to talk about women’s issues being exactly the same as the issues of trans women because I don’t think that’s true. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man, pretend that you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Each of my novels has come from a different place, and the processes are not always entirely conscious. I have lived off and on in America for a number of years and so have accumulated observations, found things interesting, been moved to tell stories about them. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Alexa and the other guests, and perhaps even Georgina, all understood the fleeing from war, from the kind of poverty that crushed human souls, but they would not understand the need to escape from the oppressive lethargy of choicelessness. They would not understand why people like him who were raised well fed and watered but mired in dissatisfaction, conditioned from birth to look towards somewhere else, eternally convinced that real lives happened in that somewhere else, were now resolved to do dangerous things, illegal things, so as to leave, none of them starving, or raped, or from burned villages, but merely hungry for for choice and certainty. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I can write with authority only about what I know well, which means that I end up using surface details of my own life in my fiction. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We did that often, asking each other questions whose answers we already knew. Perhaps it was so that we would not ask the other questions, the ones whose answers we did not want to know. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I own things I like, but nothing inanimate that I treasure in a deeply consuming way. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie