|Chimamand Ngozi Adiche|
LIFE AND STYLE
Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
Saturday 25 October 2008 00.01 BST
himamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in 1977 in Nigeria. She studied medicine, then at 19 went to the US, where she gained a degree in communication and political science, and a master's in creative writing. Purple Hibiscus, her debut novel, published in 2003, was shortlisted for the Orange prize for fiction and longlisted for the Booker. Her second novel, Half Of A Yellow Sun, was published in 2006 and won the 2007 Orange prize. This week she has been at the Cheltenham Festival, which finishes tomorrow.
When were you happiest?
All the years before I turned 15. Or so it looks to me in retrospect.
What is your greatest fear?
That I will lose the people I love.
What is your earliest memory?
I was about four. Our house help, Innocent, was plaiting my hair and I was crying, squirming, reaching out for the pack of Smarties my mother had placed on a table in front of me - just out of my reach - as a bribe.
Which living person do you most admire and why?
My father, because he doesn't think that real life is going on somewhere else, in a universe parallel to his.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My unforgiving nature.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I must have blocked the memory.
Aside from a property, what's the most expensive thing you've ever bought?
What is your most treasured possession?
I own things I like, but nothing inanimate that I treasure in a deeply consuming way.
Where would you like to live?
In a large, sprawling house in a shady compound in Enugu, eastern Nigeria.
What is your most unappealing habit?
You don't want to know.
What makes you depressed?
Watching the news.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My big toe looks like a tortoise's head.
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
What is your favourite book?
Chinua Achebe's Arrow Of God.
What would you most like to wear to a costume party?
A Victorian dress, a bonnet and a sheathed sword across my shoulder.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
All my pleasures are guilt-free.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family. My partner, Ivara.
What does love feel like?
Comfort. Time shared.
What was the best kiss of your life?
My teenage crush, Nnamdi.
What is the worst thing anyone's ever said to you?
I'd better not say. They might read it and realise I'm still plotting revenge.
What do you owe your parents?
A joyful childhood. And so much more.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
To the girls in my class at primary school, for being a bully.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Iris Murdoch, Sidney Poitier and Thomas Sankara.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What is the worst job you've ever done?
Undergraduate intern at the Philadelphia water department.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
Not having known my grandfathers.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I would not have stopped playing soccer in grade five.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
The west coast of Africa circa 1650.
When did you last cry, and why?
Three weeks ago at the airport, saying goodbye to my brother and best friend.
How do you relax?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Finishing Half Of A Yellow Sun.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Uwa Bu Olili, by Celestine Ukwu.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a person who tried to tell the truth and tried to be kind (and knew that sometimes the two are contradictory).
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That the universe will not bend to your plans. It does its own thing.