Chimamanda Adichie has been endowed with the 2018 PEN Pinter prize for her outstanding work of literary merit that has defined the truth in human lives and societies.
The critically acclaimed author was given the coveted prize at an award-giving ceremony, which took place at the British Library in the United Kingdom, on Tuesday.
Adichie was selected by this year’s judges, Inua Ellams, Philippe Sands, Antonia Fraser and Chair of English PEN and Chair of Judges, Maureen Freely.
She is the first African to have clinched the award which is focused on defending and promoting freedom of expression, while removing barriers to literature.
In her acceptance, Adichie said she feels honoured to have received the prize, which was established in 2009 in memory of the Nobel-winning playwright Harold Pinter.
“I admired Harold Pinter’s talent, his courage, his lucid dedication to telling his truth, and I am honoured to be given an award in his name,” she said.
At the ceremony, Adichie named Waleed Abulkhair, a lawyer and human rights activist, as the 2018 International Writer of Courage, a title awarded by the PEN Pinter winner each year.
Congratulating the Saudi Arabian lawyer and activist, she said: I am proud to share this year’s PEN Pinter Prize with activist, lawyer and writer Waleed Abulkhair.
“Waleed has dedicated his life to holding the Saudi authorities accountable for human rights abuses. He has dedicated his life to speaking out, to supporting the victims of those abuses.
“Waleed, like Harold Pinter, has shown a lucid dedication to telling his truth. But rather than being lauded for this dedication, Waleed has paid a heavy price – 15 years behind bars.
“I am deeply proud to share this prize with Waleed and I hope that this small act of solidarity will bring him some comfort, and will remind him that his struggle has not been forgotten, nor will it be in vain.