Chinua Achebe

Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic

1930   -   2013

country of citizenship: Colonial Nigeria, Nigeria
educated at: University of London, University of Ibadan
occupation: novelist, poet, literary critic, essayist, short story writer, children's writer, writer, philosopher, university teacher
award received: Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Man Booker International Prize, Nigerian National Order of Merit Award, St. Louis Literary Award, International Nonino Prize
influenced by: Okey Ndibe

Ebooks: on Wikisource

Chinua Achebe (; born Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe, 16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013) was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His first novel Things Fall Apart (1958), often considered his best, is the most widely read book in modern African literature. He won the Man Booker International Prize in 2007. Raised by his parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship to study medicine, but changed his studies to English literature at University College (now the University of Ibadan). He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for his novel Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). Achebe wrote his novels in English and defended the use of English, a "language of colonisers", in African literature. In 1975, his lecture An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" featured a famous criticism of Joseph Conrad as "a thoroughgoing racist"; it was later published in The Massachusetts Review amid some controversy. When the region of Biafra broke away from Nigeria in 1967, Achebe became a supporter of Biafran independence and acted as ambassador for the people of the new nation. The civil war that took place over the territory, commonly known as the Biafran War, ravaged the populace, and as starvation and violence took its toll, he appealed to the people of Europe and the Americas for aid. When the Nigerian government retook the region in 1970, he involved himself in political parties but soon resigned due to frustration over the corruption and elitism he witnessed. He lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s, and returned to the U.S. in 1990, after a car accident left him partially disabled. A titled Igbo chieftain himself, Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of Western and traditional African values during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory. He also published a number of short stories, children's books, and essay collections. Upon his return to the United States in 1990, he began an eighteen-year tenure at Bard College as the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature. From 2009 until his death, he served as David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.
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works

7

Things Fall Apart

novel by the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe

author: Chinua Achebe

1958 or 1968

A Man of the People

book by Chinua Achebe

author: Chinua Achebe

1966

No Longer at Ease

novel by Chinua Achebe

author: Chinua Achebe

1969

Anthills of the Savannah

book by Chinua Achebe

author: Chinua Achebe

1987

An Image of Africa

book by Chinua Achebe

author: Chinua Achebe

1975

Arrow of God

novel by Chinua Achebe

author: Chinua Achebe

1964

Chike and the River

book by Chinua Achebe

author: Chinua Achebe

1966

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