Nigerian author Chika Unigwe recently received two incredible meritorious awards from the country of Belgium – Knight of the Order of the Crown as well as a Proclamation/Oorkonde by the Christoffel Plantin Fonds.
Unigwe was made a Knight of the Order of the Crown of Belgium due to her artistic and literary merits and services to the Belgian nation. This is one of Belgium’s highest honors awarded to civilians. Meanwhile, the second honor – Proclamation/Oorkonde by the Christoffel Plantin Fonds – is an award presented to Belgian nationals who have contributed in exceptional ways to the prestige and image of Belgium abroad.
Unigwe is a writer and professor in African literature whose work spans diverse genres in English and Dutch. Born and raised in Nigeria, she lived in Belgium for many years and started her literary career there, after which she moved to the United States 10 years ago with her family. She taught at Brown and Emory University, and is currently a professor at Georgia College & State University.
Her latest novel The Middle Daughter was published last year. Her works include On Black Sisters Street, Night Dancer, Better Never Than Late and Black Messiah, among several others. Several of her novels and short stories are set in Belgium and were written in Dutch, then translated to many other languages.
The Consulate General of Belgium in Atlanta posted some exciting photos from the celebratory knighting event, remarking that Unigwe’s writing talent is insurmountable:
Chika is someone who doesn’t pander to power, who tackles difficult topics, and more often than not puts her finger, or rather her quill, where it hurts. In times where questions around identity, freedom of speech, disinformation, the nature of truth are central, almost existential for our societies it is important that we as a country applaud and recognize voices such as hers.
Unigwe herself was happy to receive these prestigious awards, saying, “Lucky folks get to call multiple places home . Truly honored by the recognition and knighting. Super grateful to the consulate in Atlanta for their incredible support , and for recommending me.”
Congratulations to Chika Unigwe! Check out the photos of her knighting ceremony below.
Photos sourced from the Consulate General of Belgium in Atlanta’s Facebook page and Chika Unigwe’s Instagram @chikaunigweauthor.