Book of the Month – January 2019

Hay Festival January Book of the Month

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion – for each other and for their homeland.

A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah has been published in 29 languages. The novel won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2013, was listed among the New York Times Book Review’s “Ten Best Books of 2013”, and won The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction 2013 and the “One Book, One New York” campaign 2017.

"There are some novels that tell a great story and others that make you change the way you look at the world. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah is a book that manages to do both" – Elizabeth Day, The Guardian.
Buy the book

Listen to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaking at Hay Festival 2014

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Further reading...

Americanah book club questions

"I decided to call myself a Happy Feminist" (2014)

In Conversation (2017)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Comes to Terms with Global Fame (2018)

"We all breathe misogyny" (2018)

About the author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, the Financial Times, and Zoetrope. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and a New York Times Notable Book; and Americanah. She is also the author of the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck. Her 2012 talk 'We Should All Be Feminists' was published as a book in 2014. And her most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017.

Author Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieChimamanda Ngozi Adichie © Ivara Esege

About Hay Festival's Book of the Month

Hay Festival's Book of the Month is our monthly recommendation of a title we've loved and think holds added resonance today. While many recommendations celebrate the new, this is a chance to celebrate great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry – new and old – that reaches through time to touch the present.

Throughout the month, we'll share interesting links and articles relating to our selection on social media using #HayBookoftheMonth and invite you all to get involved with your questions and comments.

Over on Hay Player, a special playlist of talks to view online offer additional perspectives on the books from some of the greatest writers and thinkers around the world.

If you'd like to recommend a book for consideration, please email

Happy reading!