Half of a Yellow Sun

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Illustrated by Unyime Edet

Afterword by the author

The first illustrated edition of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s phenomenal Half of a Yellow Sun is published by The Folio Society, with a series of stunning watercolours by artist Unyime Edet.

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‘Here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers.’
  1. Chinua Achebe

Between 1967 and 1970, Nigeria was plunged into a bloody Civil War that claimed the lives of more than a million people, as the government fought The Republic of Biafra; a successionist state fighting for independence. Against this turbulent backdrop, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves the stories of five disparate characters – twins Olanna and Kainene, university professor Odenigbo, his houseboy Ugwu, and English ex-pat Richard – drawn together then pushed to the limits of human endurance as their country unravels. Beautifully written, dramatic and affecting, this sweeping novel about love, race, class and colonialism brings to the fore contemporary Nigerian literature and an overlooked history. With seven emotive watercolours and an evocative binding design by artist Unyime Edet, this edition of Adichie’s multi-award-winning novel celebrates its literary standing and the powerful impact it has on its readers.

Bound in printed and blocked duotone cloth

Set in Freight Text with P22 Typewriter as display

528 pages

Frontispiece and 6 full-page colour illustrations

Blocked slipcase

9½˝ x 6¼˝

Nigerian figurative painter and illustrator Unyime Edet’s work depicts the hidden truth about life and his startling paintings for this edition sees Adichie’s characters beautifully and sensitively imagined. Seven accomplished watercolours strike a delicate balance between the characters’ fragility and helplessness, and their dogged determination to survive against the odds. Edet’s binding design is sparse and affecting, the muted tones and tactile cloth evocative of the land that the Igbo nationalists and the Yoruba were fighting to claim as their own.

‘How much did one know of the true feelings of those who did not have a voice?’

In 2020, Half of a Yellow Sun was awarded the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction ‘Winner of Winners’ accolade to mark the 25th anniversary of the prize. Such has been its impact on the literary scene, shining a light on Nigerian history, the scars of colonialism, and the tensions between Igbo and Yoruba cultures that led to civil war, that it is considered a modern classic.

When village boy Ugwu moves to town to work for university professor Odenigbo, his eyes are opened to the Igbo intellectual class and the opportunities that education offers. The professor’s ‘illogically beautiful’ girlfriend Olanna is a chief’s daughter who has eschewed her family’s wealth to follow her heart, while her twin sister Kainene is a headstrong businesswoman who drops her guard when she falls for English ex-pat Richard. As discord mounts and war rages, their world is upended. However, while the symbol of Biafra – half of a yellow sun – is displayed on the flag, there is still hope for peaceful resolution.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian-born novelist. Adichie has lived in the United States for much of her adult life, and has been awarded master’s degrees in creative writing from Johns Hopkins and African studies from Yale; she was also a MacArthur Fellow and held fellowships at Harvard and Princeton universities. Adichie was inspired to write as a child after reading the work of Chinua Achebe; her novels and stories have often examined questions of Nigerian identity, marriage and gender roles, and post-colonial politics. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book; Half of a Yellow Sun, her second, was awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction and was later voted the ‘Winner of Winners’ of this prize in its 25-year history. Americanah, her third novel, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Adichie’s TEDx talk, ‘We should all be feminists’, has been viewed more than seven million times and helped make her one of the most prominent feminist commentators of our times.

Unyime Edet is an illustrator from Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria. He studied painting at the University of Uyo and taught art at the Federal University of Lafia; he is now a full-time painter based in Abuja. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, most recently at the Thought Pyramid Art Centre in Lagos.


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