She was born in Nigeria in 1977. She is from Aba, in Anambra state, but grew up in the university town of Nsukka where she attended primary and secondary schools and briefly studied Medicine and Pharmacy. She then moved to the United States to attend college, graduating summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State with a major in Communication and a minor in Political Science. She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from John Hopkins and a Masters degree in African Studies from Yale.
Purple Hibiscus won the Commonwealth Writer’s prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was also shortlisted for the Orange prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and long-listed for the Booker Prize. Her short fiction has appeared in Granta, prospect, and The lowa Review among other literary journals, and she received an O. Henry Prize in 2003. She was a 2005-2006 Holder Fellow at Princeton, where she taught Introductory Fiction. She divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.