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Adichie to deliver landmark BBC lecture

The Reith Lectures were inaugurated in 1948, by the BBC to mark the historic contribution made to public service broadcasting by Sir John (later Lord) Reith, the corporation’s first Director-General.

Award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Celebrated Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, will deliver the landmark BBC Reith Lecture for 2022.

The Reith Lectures were inaugurated in 1948, by the BBC to mark the historic contribution made to public service broadcasting by Sir John (later Lord) Reith, the corporation’s first Director-General.

Reith maintained that broadcasting should be a public service which enriches the intellectual and cultural life of the nation. In that spirit, the BBC each year invites a leading figure to deliver a series of lectures on the radio.

According to the BBC, over the years the Reith lectures have provided insights “into the work of some of the world’s greatest thinkers”.

Previous Reith lecturers include various Nobel Laureates such as Nobel Peace Prize awardee Aung Sung Su Kyi, and Nobel Literature Prize winners Bertrand Russell and Professor Wole Soyinka. Other luminaries to have delivered lectures include economist J.K. Galbraith; physicist Stephen Hawking; and the former Governor of both the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney.

Chimamanda’s selection to deliver the prestigious lecture represents yet another honour. She has received global recognition for her work, which has been translated into over thirty languages and won numerous awards and prizes. She occupies a unique position combining a number of attributes. The New York Times Magazine, in its 2017 “Greats” issue, described her as “one of those rarest of people: a celebrated novelist who has also become a leading public intellectual”. She is also widely known as a fashion and beauty icon.

2022 is a landmark year for the BBC, as it is the 100th anniversary of its establishment. To mark the centenary, the BBC chose to have a special series of lectures on freedom, by four prominent individuals, based on a speech by former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Controller of BBC Radio 4, Mohit Bakaya said, “In this BBC centenary year, I wanted to seek out four perspectives on this complex idea based on FDRs famous Four Freedoms speech – a speech made in 1941 at such a precarious moment for the world. I’m delighted that these four brilliant thinkers have agreed to explore freedom as it relates to their knowledge and expertise.”

Chimamanda will deliver a lecture on freedom of speech, with the other lectures (on freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear respectively), being delivered by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Rowan Williams; Darren McGarvey, prize-winning author and music artist; and Dr Fiona Hill, foreign affairs specialist and former adviser to U.S Presidents George W. Bush, Donald Trump, and Barack Obama.

The lecture will be recorded on October 31st before a live audience at The Radio Theatre in BBC News Broadcasting House, London. It will subsequently be broadcast on BBC Radio from November 30th.