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Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

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Albert Chinualumogu Achebe
Born: November 16 1930 (age 86)
Ogidi, Nigeria
Occupation(s): Novelist, Poet, Short story writer

<tr><th style="text-align: right;">Nationality:</th><td>Nigerian</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align: right;">Writing period:</th><td>1958-present</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align: right;">Debut work(s):</th><td>Things Fall Apart</td></tr>

Chinua Achebe (born November 16, 1930) is a Nigerian writer.


[edit] Life

Achebe, whose full name is Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, was born in Ogidi, Nigeria and attended University College in Ibadan (at the time a college of the University of London, now the University of Ibadan), where he studied English, history and theology. He later studied broadcasting at the BBC and became the first Director of External Broadcasting at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in 1961. During the civil war, he worked for the Biafran government as an ambassador, an experience that inspired him to write the poem "Refugee Mother and Child."

Achebe is considered the father of the African novel in English as well as one of the world's most acclaimed writers. His modern African classic Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, has sold over 10 million copies around the world and has been translated into fifty languages. Things Fall Apart has appeared on numerous lists of the 100 greatest novels of all time, including ones published in Norway (Norwegian Book Club), England (Guardian and Observer), America (Radcliffe Publishing Course list of top 100 novels of the 20th century) and Africa (Africa's Best Books of the 20th Century).

Achebe's treatise of literary criticism: An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, has become one of the most influential, controversial, widely studied and debated essays of its kind in classrooms around the world. Achebe posits that Joseph Conrad's famous novel of imperialism harbors subtexts and language of a racist tone that dismiss and dehumanize his African backdrop and characters. He argues for a reappraisal of Heart of Darkness and rejects the hallowed position that this canonical text has been accorded based on the premise that art that dehumanizes any group of people should not be elevated to greatness.

Many scholars believe that Achebe has had to bear a heavy moral burden as a result of his position on Conrad. Despite spending a lifetime as " a literary champion of his people and crusader for the dignity of the voiceless and dispossesed everywhere," there has emerged a consistent pattern of overlooking Achebe - Africa's greatest literary ambassador - for the Nobel prize, further fueling the charge of a "racist backlash."

The text of An Image of Africa can be found here; also see An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", an article that discusses this critique in more depth.

Achebe is the recipient of over thirty honorary degrees from universities in England, Scotland, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria and the United States, including Dartmouth (1972), Harvard (1996), Brown (1998), Southampton, Guelph, University of Toronto (2006), University of the Witwatersrand, Cape Town (2002); and the University of Ife. Achebe has received numerous awards for his work, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize; the New Statesman Jock Campbell Prize; the Margaret Wrong Prize; the Nigerian National Trophy in 1961; and the Nigerian National Merit Award - Nigeria's highest recognition of intellectual achievement in 1979.

Achebe is an Honorary Fellow of the Modem Language Association of America (1975); a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature of London (1981); and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1982). In 2002 he was awarded the prestigious Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

Achebe was the founding editor of the African Writers Series published by Heinemann, a body of work that has emerged as a cornerstone of postcolonial literature, and was instrumental in introducing the world to new writing from Africa.

He has served as founding editor of Okike , an African journal of new writing, Uwa ndi Igbo - an Igbo language journal of poetry and literary criticism, publisher of The African Commentary, President of the Ogidi Town Union, Prochancellor of the Anambra State University of Technology and Deputy National President of the People's Redemption Party. In 2004, Professor Achebe declined to accept the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) - Nigeria's second highest honor - in protest of the state of affairs in his native country.

He is currently Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in Upstate New York. He is married to Professor Christie Chinwe Achebe, with whom he has 4 children.

In 1961, he was married to Professor Christie Chinwe Achebe, with whom he has 4 children.

In 1990 he was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident.

[edit] Bibliography

Things Fall Apart, Anchor trade paperback cover

[edit] Works by Achebe

[edit] Works about Achebe

  • Agetua, John (ed.). Critics on Chinua Achebe, 1970-76 (Benin City, Nigeria: Bendel Newspapers Corp., 1977).
  • Egar, Emmanuel Edame. The Rhetorical Implications of Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart' (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2000). ISBN 0-7618-1721-2
  • Ekwe-Ekwe, Herbert. African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe (Dakar: African Renaissance, 2001). ISBN 1-903625-10-6
  • Emenyonu, Ernest N. (ed.). Emerging Perspectives on Chinua Achebe (Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2004). ISBN 0-86543-876-5 (v. 1), ISBN 0-86543-878-1 (v. 2)
  • Ezenwa-Ohaeto. Chinua Achebe: A Biogrspenencer is cool kidaphy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997). ISBN 0-253-33342-3
  • Gikandi, Simon. Reading Chinua Achebe: Language and Ideology in Fiction (London : J. Currey, 1991). ISBN 0-85255-527-X
  • Innes, Catherine Lynette. Chinua Achebe (Cambridge, England; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
  • Innes, C. L. and Bernth Lindfors (eds.). Critical Perspectives on Chinua Achebe (Washington: Three Continents Press, 1978). ISBN 0-914478-45-1
  • Jaya Lakshmi, Rao V. Culture and Anarchy in the Novels of Chinua Achebe (Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2003).
  • Killam, G. D. The Writings of Chinua Achebe (London: Heinemann Educational, 1977). ISBN 0-435-91665-3
  • Njoku, Benedict Chiaka. The Four Novels of Chinua Achebe: A Critical Study (New York: P. Lang, 1984). ISBN 0-8204-0154-4
  • Ogede, Ode. Achebe and the Politics of Representation: Form Against Itself, From Colonial Conquest and Occupation to Post-Independence Disillusionment (Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2001). ISBN 0-86543-774-2
  • Ojinmah, Umelo. Chinua Achebe: New Perspectives (Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited, 1991). ISBN 978-2461-16-4
  • Okpewho, Isidore, (ed.). Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart': A Casebook (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2003). ISBN 0-19-514763-4
  • Peterson, Kirsten Holst and Anna Rutherford (eds.). Chinua Achebe: A Celebration (Oxford, England: Dangeroo Press, 1991). ISBN 0-435-08060-1
  • Sallah, Tijan M. and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Chinua Achebe, Teacher of Light: A Biography (Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2003). ISBN 1-59221-031-7
  • Yankson, Kofi E. Chinua Achebe's Novels: A Sociolinguistic Perspective (Uruowulu-Obosi, Nigeria: Pacific Publishers, 1990). ISBN 978-2347-79-5

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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Chinua Achebe

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