Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop 2018—How To Apply (Updated)

We are pleased to announce that Chimamanda Adichie‘s prestigious creative writing workshop has finally returned. The creative writing workshop  will no longer be called the Farafina Trust Writing Workshop. Its new name is the Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop. Beautiful name  I must say.

The Trace Nigeria-sponsored workshop will run from 20th – 30th November 2018.

What Will You Gain From This Workshop?

Accepted writers will be housed and fed throughout the 10-day duration of the workshop..

The Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop has an impressive list of facilitators. As a former participant of Ms Adichie’s workshop, I can testify to  the effectiveness of their teaching techniques. I am glad to see that Chika Unigwe, Binyavanga Wainaina, Aslak Myhre, Dave Eggers, Robert Spillman,, Faith Adiele, Tash Aw, Jackie Kay and Jeffrey Allen will be teaching different classes.

How To Apply:

  • Send a prose fiction or creative non-fiction writing sample. Word count: 200 – 1000 words.
  • In the body if your email, include your name, address and a brief bio. Make sure your bio is short and specific and that it talks about you (the applicant).
  • Your subject title must read‘Workshop Application.’
  • Send your applications through e-mail to purplehibiscus2018@gmail.com.
  • Be sure to send in your application before the 15th October, 2018 deadline.
  • Successful applicants will be contacted by 7th November, 2018

Tips for applicants:

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Choose your story idea wisely. If you can, avoid old and tired story-lines e.g. infidelity stories. You can write a story about infidelity only if you intend to approach it from a unique angle
  3. Write what you know. Readers can tell when you’re being pretentious.
  4. Read a few classic short short stories. I’ll recommend John Updike’s ‘Pygmalion’ and Alice Walker’s The Flowers.
  5. You can find a few more fantastic short stories HERE, HERE and HERE.
  6. If you’d like to read the short story that got me into the workshop in 2010, click HERE. I’d like to say that my writing has changed a lot ever since.
  7. Don’t be in a hurry. Do your best to find the best story ideas that will make your application stand out.

I’ll be offering critiques to a few applicants. Email me if you’d like to use my services.

Feel free to ask me any question in the comments section.

Good luck

81 thoughts on “Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop 2018—How To Apply (Updated)

  • Sep 25, 2018 at 4:49 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you so much for this awesome news. I’m so ecstatic right now.

    Reply
    • Sep 25, 2018 at 5:09 pm
      Permalink

      I’m glad you are, Jenny. Feel free to bounce ideas off me in the comments section. Good luck.

      Reply
  • Sep 26, 2018 at 12:36 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you so much for this news. I have been waiting since last year. I can’t tell you how happy I am.

    Reply
    • Sep 26, 2018 at 7:21 pm
      Permalink

      You’re welcome Chiamaka. I pray it works out perfectly for you. All the best

      Reply
  • Sep 26, 2018 at 12:52 pm
    Permalink

    Please is the story to be pasted on the body of the email or sent as an attachment?

    Reply
    • Sep 26, 2018 at 7:18 pm
      Permalink

      Paste in the body of the email

      Reply
  • Sep 26, 2018 at 1:09 pm
    Permalink

    Will the sample be attached as doc file or in the body of the email?

    Reply
    • Sep 26, 2018 at 7:17 pm
      Permalink

      In the body of the email. In previous years, they threatened to disqualify applications that had attachments. So please, just paste your writing sample in the body of the email

      Reply
  • Sep 26, 2018 at 4:02 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for this info and the helpful tips also. I submitted a story for last year’s Commonwealth Prize. Would you mind going through and share your thoughts on it?

    Reply
    • Sep 26, 2018 at 7:23 pm
      Permalink

      Do you intend to use this story for your Purple hibiscus workshop application?

      Reply
  • Sep 26, 2018 at 8:40 pm
    Permalink

    May I ask if our transport will also be covered? I am writing from Lesotho.

    Reply
    • Sep 27, 2018 at 9:00 am
      Permalink

      Hello Heidy,
      I really don’t know. When I attended in 2010, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma flew in from South Africa. I am not sure I remember how she worked that out. You can send your inquiries to purplehibiscus2018@gmail.com

      But I wouldn’t worry about logistics now; when you get to that bridge, you’ll find a way to cross it. Concentrate on getting in first. What matters most is the quality of your writing sample.

      Thanks for stopping by. I wish you all the best.

      Reply
  • Sep 27, 2018 at 12:12 am
    Permalink

    Hi, thanks for the information. Please can you send stories from your personal blog or website?

    Reply
    • Sep 27, 2018 at 8:54 am
      Permalink

      You mean, can you send previously published works? I guess you can. One of my blogger friends sent in a creative non-fiction blog post and Chimamanda enjoyed reading it. Needless to say the post earned her a spot in the workshop.

      I hope i answered your question correctly. Thanks for stopping by

      Reply
      • Sep 29, 2018 at 7:44 am
        Permalink

        Thanks for your response. Once a send my mail, how will I know it’s been received?

        Reply
        • Oct 1, 2018 at 2:14 pm
          Permalink

          I really don’t know if they still send acknowledgement emails. They do receive about a thousand entries so I guess it will be difficult to send acknowledgement emails to everyone.
          Once your sent items folder shows that the email has left your mailbox and draft folders, then I’m sure you can safely assume that the Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop team have received your application.

          Reply
  • Sep 27, 2018 at 5:05 am
    Permalink

    I’m really happy to discover this. Thank you to give us an opportunity to express our imagination. I need to know : is the French accept as a language of this Purple Hibiscus workshop application ?

    Wish you the best.

    Reply
    • Sep 27, 2018 at 8:44 am
      Permalink

      I’m not sure. If i were you, i’d send an English translation of my wprk. To be on the safe side, you can forward your inquiry to e-mail to purplehibiscus2018@gmail.com. All the best

      Reply
  • Sep 27, 2018 at 7:48 am
    Permalink

    If selected to attend this prestigious workshop, and one is not from Nigeria, who will foot the travel, accommodation and subsistence costs.

    Reply
    • Sep 27, 2018 at 8:38 am
      Permalink

      Good question. I’ll advice that you forward your inquiry to the purple hibiscus email address in the post. And please let us know what they say.

      Reply
  • Sep 27, 2018 at 9:36 am
    Permalink

    Thank you so much for this info sir,
    Please, can I get your email so I could send some stories for critic?

    Reply
  • Sep 27, 2018 at 10:56 am
    Permalink

    Hi. I am excited hear about this. I want to know if the email should be in any specific order? For example, should I present the requirements in the order requested above? (under, How to Apply)
    Also, should I be formal and go straight to the point or am I allowed to insert a personal message of gratitude in the body of the email?

    Reply
    • Sep 27, 2018 at 1:21 pm
      Permalink

      I’ll tell you what I’ve always does when applying for these things.

      I write a cover letter of some sorts (without the story summary part of course) I end the letter and paste story below.

      Hope this helps

      Reply
    • Sep 27, 2018 at 1:34 pm
      Permalink

      Sorry. Quick correction. For Adichie’s workshop and the Fidelity bank writing workshop, I went straight to the point and used colons in this order.

      Name:
      Address:
      Bio: (50 words max)
      Story title:
      Word count:

      Story (writing sample)

      This is the format i think you should use.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  • Pingback: Online Creative Writing Class with NYT Bestselling Author Roxane Gay Available On Skillshare—Register – Creative Writing News

  • Sep 27, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you very much. That was very helpful.

    Reply
  • Sep 29, 2018 at 12:13 pm
    Permalink

    Hi, what details are supposed to be in the author bio? Is it supposed to be formal? Or a little quirky?
    Thanks.
    Princewill.

    Reply
    • Sep 30, 2018 at 7:17 pm
      Permalink

      Bio should include your name, occupation, possibly, where you live and work. Your hobbies and why the workshop is important to you.

      Quirky? I’m not so sure. I remember writing in one application that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Even though I didn’t believe that. But I got into the workshop. But this application was for the fidelity bank workshop not the Farafina workshop. I was a bit more formal in the workshop application.

      There was one writer, who wrote that he was smart. And his writing sample proved it. So I guess it’s up to you. Your writing sample is what matters most.

      Reply
  • Sep 29, 2018 at 10:58 pm
    Permalink

    Should we expect acknowledgement mails after sending in our applications? For those that have applied, did you receive any mail acknowledging your application?

    Reply
    • Sep 30, 2018 at 7:12 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Aluka, thanks for stopping by. I don’t remember receiving any acknowledgement back in 2010 when I applied. I only heard back when they sent the invitation. But perhaps that has changed.

      Let’s hear from other applicants. I wish you all the best.

      Reply
  • Oct 1, 2018 at 9:07 am
    Permalink

    Thanks.

    I didn’t receive any acknowledgement mail.

    So, how was the workshop? Were you guys logded in a hotel? How were the lectures like? Did you have crazy roommate? Did you see Chimamanda for real?

    Reply
    • Oct 1, 2018 at 2:27 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Princewill,

      The acknowledgement email will probably come soon.

      The workshop was fine and daunting at the same time. I was a greenhorn then and was struggling to grasp the elements of good writing.

      Yes, we were lodged in a five-star hotel that had a view of the Lekki Water front. We all had our own rooms and didn’t have to share. We also got stipends that covered travle costs (for me at least) and I had extra money which I used to buy books at the literary evening.

      The lectures were mehn… very eye-opening. I learned so much. I realized I’d been groping in the dark.I particularly enjoyed Chika Unigwe’s classes. She’s a very patient teacher. Plus I am a fan of her works, especially her short stories. Have you read her ‘Bethlehem’? It’s awesome

      Did I see Chimamanda for real? Yes, I did. Proof is in the picture in this post: http://creativewritingnews.com/editing-services/
      And I was staring at her like an idiot until she nudged me with her fists and said, “How now?” Yes, she says things like “How now?” Lol. Enough said. I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for you.

      Reply
  • Oct 1, 2018 at 3:35 pm
    Permalink

    Wow! I don’t know what to say now.
    Are there criteria in selecting the stories? Is it the storyline? Show-tell details? Is it the choice of words? Is it the setting? Is it the storyline? Is it the character development? Is it grammar and punctuation?
    From your post, I can tell that you have improved.

    Reply
    • Oct 2, 2018 at 10:09 am
      Permalink

      Ms, Adichie loves memorable stories, usually stories with complex themes and rounded characters. Apparently, breast cancer and mental illness make for memorable themes in stories. She also likes stories that are set in rural communities, stories that show the people and their culture so to speak.

      Does she care about Grammar and pubnctuation? She didn’t say she did. But she complained that people send too many stories about cheating spouses. And please don’t use the word ‘matrimonial bed”. Lol

      Reply
  • Oct 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm
    Permalink

    Please I need your email. so you can help me critique my writing. And I really want someone experienced i can ask questions please.

    Reply
    • Oct 5, 2018 at 4:02 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Jennifer, I just replied to your email. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  • Oct 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm
    Permalink

    Hello, Chioma.
    I would be glad if you can help critique a short story I would like to enter for PurpleHibiscus writing workshop.

    Reply
    • Oct 6, 2018 at 5:46 pm
      Permalink

      My email address on the write for us and about us pages. My hands are pretty full. But If I can’t help, I will recommend a qualified editor.

      Reply
  • Oct 7, 2018 at 11:14 am
    Permalink

    Hi, can we submit an excerpt form a previously published work?

    Reply
    • Oct 7, 2018 at 11:55 am
      Permalink

      Of course you can. Do your best to ensure that the excerpt can be read as a standalone story that has has a beginning , a middle and an ending.

      Get a second opinion from an unbiased reader who hasn’t read the entire text. If the short excerpt makes sense to the reader, then you have a good entry.

      Best wishes

      Reply
        • Oct 8, 2018 at 9:32 am
          Permalink

          You’re welcome Vivian

          Reply
  • Pingback: Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie bags The Ev Rogers Award — – Creative Writing News

  • Oct 10, 2018 at 11:21 am
    Permalink

    is there a minimum required age? also are double entries allowed?

    Reply
    • Oct 10, 2018 at 12:02 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Samuel,

      So far, there haven’t been age restrictions. Feel free to send your story.

      I wouldn’t advice you to send more than one submission. At least, not with the same email address. The last thing you want is to risk being disqualified.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  • Oct 10, 2018 at 11:37 am
    Permalink

    is there a minimum age for applicants? and can i send more than one entry

    Reply
    • Oct 10, 2018 at 11:57 am
      Permalink

      Hello Samuel,

      So far, there haven’t been age restrictions. Feel free to send your story.

      I wouldn’t advice you to send more than one submission. At least, not with the same email address. The last thing you want is to risk being disqualified.

      Good luck.

      Reply
    • Oct 10, 2018 at 12:03 pm
      Permalink

      I already answered your questions. Let me know if there are other things you’d like to know.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
    • Oct 10, 2018 at 12:10 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Samuel,

      So far, there haven’t been any age restrictions. So please apply.

      Should you send more than one story? No. I wouldn’t do that if I were you. At least not with the same email address.

      I hope you’ find my reply helpful.

      Kind regards,
      Chioma

      Reply
  • Oct 10, 2018 at 6:28 pm
    Permalink

    This site has been so helpful. Miss Chioma could you help me critique my piece when am done am just starting with the premise line

    Reply
    • Oct 11, 2018 at 2:09 pm
      Permalink

      I wish I could critique everyone’s piece, but my hands are so full. You can email me nonetheless. If I can’t critique your story, I can always recommend a good editor.

      Reply
  • Oct 11, 2018 at 11:07 am
    Permalink

    Pls ma is the word count taken very seriously? I mean would one be disqualified immediately your word count exceeds 1000? Or is it a bit flexible

    Reply
    • Oct 11, 2018 at 2:17 pm
      Permalink

      From my experience, word count is always taken very seriously.

      Writing flash fiction requires a lot of discipline especially in word economy. It’s not easy, but it can be done. The first step is to read a lot of short, short stories.

      Read the stories I recommended in the post.

      But first, read these.
      Sample stories:
      https://forgelitmag.com/2017/09/18/milk/
      http://www.flashfictiononline.com/f20080102-james-brown-laundry-lake-tahoe-stefanie-freele.html

      They’ll give you a good idea of how to craft and write your story.

      The only formulae for success in writing is actually reading the right kind of stuffs. 70% of what Ms. Adichie taught us was how to read like writers.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  • Oct 11, 2018 at 4:04 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for this. But, do you know if a writing sample from an already published story is eligible?

    Reply
    • Oct 11, 2018 at 4:19 pm
      Permalink

      Hello, I know a good number of writers who got in with already published writing samples, so I can safely say it’s okay to send in already published work. What matters is if Ms. Adichie likes it enough.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  • Oct 11, 2018 at 8:08 pm
    Permalink

    what should be the in the subject of the mail please?

    Reply
    • Oct 12, 2018 at 6:36 am
      Permalink

      ◾Your subject title must read‘Workshop Application.’

      It’s clearly stated in the post.

      Reply
  • Oct 12, 2018 at 3:11 pm
    Permalink

    Ma, how many entries were picked during your time? How many in subsequent years and about how many entries are received on a yearly basis

    Reply
    • Oct 12, 2018 at 4:08 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Samuel, In my time, only 20 writers were selected to attend the workshop. Another alumni told me Ms. Adichie picked 24 writers (because there were very many strong samples) when she attended the workshop.

      From what I heard, they receive an average on 1000 entries from all over the world. The workshop is highly selective and competitive.

      My advice is that you concentrate on making your writing sample strong. One easy way to do this is to read the right kind of stories. I can’t emphasize that enough.

      Reply
  • Pingback: Write Flash Fiction for Zizzle; Get Paid $100 — – Creative Writing News

  • Oct 13, 2018 at 10:47 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Miss Chioma, I’ve been reading every comments and replies. I want to say a big thank you. I just saw the post today. I’ll start a new story. Also, I have a question. Please expatiate more on the submission process via email. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Oct 14, 2018 at 7:28 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks for stopping by Sotonye. But your question isn’t clear. But I’m sure you’ll find the answer to your question in the comments section as well as in the main body of the article.

      I hope you beat the deadline.

      Good luck.

      Reply
      • Oct 15, 2018 at 11:35 pm
        Permalink

        OH, okay thanks, don’t worry, I did get my answer from the comments… I just submitted mine now well, ‘don’t know what’s going to happen. If there’s still hope…

        Reply
    • Oct 15, 2018 at 11:16 am
      Permalink

      Really? That’s strange. What error message are you getting? Many writers have successfully submitted their entries and have been notified by the admin.

      Can you look critically at the email address? Make sure there are no extra spaces or punctuation marks anywhere in the address.

      Let me know if you eventually succeed. Good luck.

      Reply
      • Oct 15, 2018 at 2:36 pm
        Permalink

        Please i need your advice. i had already submitted my short story sample but as a document. please what should i do now. though there was no format to be followed by the advertisement published. please help.

        Reply
  • Oct 15, 2018 at 2:19 pm
    Permalink

    Chioma Please help out. what can i do now i attached my story as a document .what should i do pls

    Reply
    • Oct 15, 2018 at 2:58 pm
      Permalink

      I already answered your question. If you pasted your submission in the body of the email, and attached your story. Don’t do anything about the submission.

      Reply
  • Oct 15, 2018 at 2:22 pm
    Permalink

    Chioma please help. i already sent my application with my short story sample as a document. please what should i do

    Reply
    • Oct 15, 2018 at 2:55 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Dim,

      Calm down. The press release didn’t say anything about attachements so it isn’t your fault.

      Did you paste your story in the body of the email? If you didn’t perhaps you can consider resending your application. You can edit the subject to indicate that you’re sending a more correct entry.

      Alternatively, you can use a different email address to send your entry.

      Whatever you do, don’t panic. You’ll get in if it’s meant to be.

      All the best

      Reply
      • Oct 15, 2018 at 3:52 pm
        Permalink

        thanks i did reapply through another mail.

        Reply
  • Oct 18, 2018 at 2:43 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Chioma,
    I submitted a wrong story that had like four errors instead of the edited version of the story(just pasted it on the email without going through it). Do you think I’ve been disqualified?

    Reply
    • Oct 18, 2018 at 3:44 pm
      Permalink

      Hello Chichi,

      Chillax. Four errors aren’t enough to ruin your story. Especially if it’s a well-written story for the most part. I don’t remember her complaining about the spelling or grammatical errors, but I do remember her complaining about stereotypical themes.

      I wouldn’t worry about it, if I were you. Probably because I’m a cést sera sera sort of person.

      You have done your best. Just pray and trust that it will work out in your best interest. Forget about it. Go and work on your story for the Commonwealth Prize or the Goethe-Institut sponsored Afrokuit YA Prize. Or apply for the Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Awards. Do a search on the blog for these writing opportunities. It’ll help take your mind off the things you have no control over.

      I hope you find this helpful. All the best.

      Reply
  • Oct 20, 2018 at 12:45 pm
    Permalink

    I just saw your post about submitting the story sample as the body of the email. And I submitted mine as an attachment. I don’t know what to do since its past the deadline.

    Reply
    • Nov 7, 2018 at 11:05 am
      Permalink

      Sorry I’m just replying. Like you said. It’s well past the deadline. Perhaps they’ll decide to read email attachments this time around. Be hopeful. All the best.

      Reply
  • Nov 7, 2018 at 10:53 am
    Permalink

    Pls how do we check results

    Reply
    • Nov 7, 2018 at 11:03 am
      Permalink

      Notifications will be sent to successful applicants. But I will be on the lookout for the list so that I can publish it here. Keep checking our homepage for updates.

      Good luck.

      Reply
      • Nov 7, 2018 at 8:31 pm
        Permalink

        My heart is skipping beats. Have they notified anyone?

        Reply
  • Nov 8, 2018 at 7:34 am
    Permalink

    Hi. It’s past the deadline and I haven’t heard anything. Any idea when the shortlist will be announced or has it already been announced?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *