Life and Works of Chinua Achebe (1930-2013): Nigerian Novelist

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Chinua Achebe (1930-2013): Nigerian Novelist
Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe, in full Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, (born November 16, 1930, Ogidi, Nigeria—died March 21, 2013, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.), Nigerian novelist acclaimed for his unsentimental depictions of the social and psychological disorientation accompanying the imposition of Western customs and values upon traditional African society.

His particular concern was with emergent Africa at its moments of crisis; his novels range in subject matter from the first contact of an African village with the white man to the educated African’s attempt to create a firm moral order out of the changing values in a large city.

Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic; born and brought up in Igbo town of Ogidi

• Excelled in studies; became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures
• Began writing stories as a university student; worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS)
• Gained worldwide attention for his first novel and magnum opus Things Fall Apart (1958)
• Served as a professor at Brown University in the United States from 2009 until his death
• Was awarded the Man Booker International Prize in June 2007
• Died after a short illness in 2013 in Boston, United States

Achebe’s Works

• 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
• Also published a number of short stories, children’s books, and essay collections

African Trilogy

Things Fall Apart (1958) – Concerns the struggle of Obi Okonkwo’s grandfather Okonkwo against the changes brought by the English; title taken from W.B. Yeats’ poem The Second Coming
No Longer at Ease (1960) – Story of Okonkwo’s grandson Obi Okonkwo, who leaves his village for a British education, secures a position with the Nigerian Civil Service in Lagos, where he finally succumbs to the prevalent practice of bribery and is caught
Arrow of God (1964) – Centers on Ezeulu, the chief priest of several Igbo villages in colonial Nigeria, who confronts colonial powers and Christian missionaries in the 1920s

A Man of the People (1966) – Story of the young and educated Odili, the narrator, and his conflict with Chief Nanga, his former teacher who enters a career in politics in an unnamed modern African country
• Anthills of the Savannah (1987) – Set in the fictional West African country of Kangan, where a Sandhurst-trained officer, Sam (His Excellency), has taken power following a military coup
An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1975, essay) – Achebe accuses Joseph Conrad of being a thoroughgoing racist for depicting Africa as the other world

• Achebe has also written some children’s books

other sources:

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1 comment on “Life and Works of Chinua Achebe (1930-2013): Nigerian Novelist

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