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- Published on Friday, 22 March 2013 09:30
- Written by Elombah.com
Professor Chinua Achebe, the father of African Literature is dead. He is 82. Achebe, one of the best fiction writers in recent history, died in his USA base, according to reports now confirmed by elombah.com. He was born on November 16, 1930, and had been in hospital in recent days. Achebe is best known for his classical novel Things fall Apart.
His last book, 'There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra', is still making waves and has proved very controversial in his native Nigeria.
Prof Achebe was a David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown.
Chinua Achebe, the internationally acclaimed Nigerian writer, has died, aged 82. Best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart, Achebe was also a poet, professor and critic.
He died last night in Boston in the United States after a period of illness, according to friends. For the past four years, he was professor of African studies at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
Things Fall Apart is thought to be the most widely read book in modern African literature. On its publication in 1958, it turned him into a literary celebrity abroad and an influential intellectual in Nigeria.
The novel has sold more than 12 million copies and been translated into 50 languages. According to Nelson Mandela, Achebe “brought Africa to the rest of the world".
Achebe won the inaugural Man Booker International prize in 2007. Ten years earlier, his novel, Anthills of the Savannah, had been shortlisted for the British Man Booker prize.
Corruption was a recurring theme in his writing. A Man of the People, Achebe’s fourth novel, satirised post-Independence Nigeria. The book, published in 1966, was also remarkably prescient. It ends with a coup attempt – a fate that befell Nigeria later that year. Achebe was forced to flee the country after the military suspected him of involvement.
He was also a supporter of Biafra’s bloody breakaway from Nigeria between 1967 and 1970, and blamed the conflict on Nigeria’s colonial past.
Western writers were not immune from his criticism either. In 1975, he gave a lecture in which he accused Joseph Conrad as a “bloody racist”.
Achebe married Christie Achebe in 1961. She was a colleague at the Nigerian Broadcasting Service, where they both worked, and they had three children.
In 1990, he was in involved in a car accident in Lagos and required the use of a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
The university profile on Chinua Achebe on its website says:
“Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is known the world over for having played a seminal role in the founding and development of African literature. He continues to be considered among the most significant world writers. He is most well known for the groundbreaking 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, a novel still considered to be required reading the world over. It has sold over twelve million copies and has been translated into more than fifty languages.
“Achebe’s global significance lies not only in his talent and recognition as a writer, but also as a critical thinker and essayist who has written extensively on questions of the role of culture in Africa and the social and political significance of aesthetics and analysis of the postcolonial state in Africa. He is renowned, for example, for “An Image of Africa,” his trenchant and famous critique of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Today, this critique is recognized as one of the most generative interventions on Conrad; and one that opened the social study of literary texts, particularly the impact of power relations on 20th century literary imagination.
“In addition, Achebe is distinguished in his substantial and weighty investment in the building of literary arts institutions. His work as the founding editor of the Heinemann African Writers Series led to his editing over one hundred titles in it. Achebe also edited the University of Nsukka journal Nsukkascope, founded Okike: A Nigerian Journal of New Writingand assisted in the founding of a publishing house, Nwamife Books–an organization responsible for publishing other groundbreaking work by award-winning writers. He continues his long-standing work on the development of institutional spaces where writers can be published and develop creative and intellectual community.”