Chinua Achebe 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.
Chinua Achebe was born on the 16 of November, 1930. Achebe’s parents, Isaiah Okafo Achebe and Janet Anaenechi Iloegbunam, were converts to the Protestant Church Mission Society (CMS) in Nigeria.
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His first novel was called “Things Fall Apart” (1958), and his last was “Anthills of Savannah”(1987). The Achebe family had five other surviving children, named in a similar fusion of traditional words relating to their new religion: Frank Okwuofu, John Chukwuemeka Ifeanyichukwu, Zinobia Uzoma, Augustine Ndubisi, and Grace Nwanneka.
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.
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.
Achebe has been called “the father of modern African writing” and Africa’s greatest storyteller, and many books and essays have been written about his work over the past fifty years. In 1992 he became the first living writer to be represented in the Everyman’s Library collection published by Alfred A. Knopf.
His 60th birthday was celebrated at the University of Nigeria by “an international Who’s Who in African Literature”. One observer noted: “Nothing like it had ever happened before in African literature anywhere on the continent.”