Chinua Achebe a Nigerian author was well known as the founding father of African literature, a novelist, poet, essayist and a critic. With a literary vision that has profoundly influenced the form and content of modern African literature, Achebe documented Nigeria's colonization by Great Britain, its subsequent independence, and its post-colonial political struggles. His writings are among the first in English to present an intimate and authentic rendering of African culture, especially his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), which many critics have proclaimed a classic of modern African fiction.
Chinua Achebe played a pivotal role in decolonizing African literature and giving a voice to the previously marginalized African cultures and experiences. His writing also highlighted the clash between tradition and modernity, a central theme in his works. He was a prominent critic, essayist, and lecturer who used his platform to advocate for African culture and the importance of storytelling. His enduring legacy continues to inspire writers and scholars worldwide.
Early Life and Education: Born on November 16, 1930, Achebe was born into the Igbo ethnic group, and his early exposure to Igbo traditions and oral storytelling greatly influenced his later literary career. He was educated at the Government College in Umuahia before enrolling in 1948 in the first class at the newly established University College in Ibadan, run by the University of London. An English literature student, where he began to develop his passion for writing and storytelling. Achebe often contributed stories, essays, and sketches to the University Herald; these works were eventually collected in Girls at War and Other Stories (1972). After receiving his undergraduate degree in 1953, he began a twelve-year stint as producer for the Nigerian Broadcasting Company (NBC) in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria.
Things Fall Apart (1958)Achebe's debut novel, this masterpiece is widely considered one of the greatest African novels ever written. It tells the story of Okonkwo, a proud Igbo warrior, and the impact of British colonialism on his traditional society.
No Longer at Ease (1960) This novel explores the challenges faced by Obi Okonkwo, a young Nigerian man educated in England, as he returns to Nigeria to work as a civil servant.
Arrow of God (1964)Another of Achebe's acclaimed novels, it delves into the conflict between traditional Igbo beliefs and the encroachment of Christianity.
A Man of the People (1966)This satirical novel provides a scathing critique of post-colonial African politics and corruption.
There was a country (2012)This is a personal account by the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe of the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War. It is considered one of the defining works of modern African non-fiction. Released in October 2012, six months prior to Achebe's death, it is the author's last published book.
Awards and Honors
•In 2007, Achebe was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for his body of work.
•He received numerous honorary degrees from universities around the world.
•Achebe was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters
•Honorary doctorates from more than 30 colleges and universities.
•He was also the recipient of Nigeria's highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award.
Chinua Achebe's contributions to literature and his commitment to advocating for African voices made him an iconic figure in the world of literature and cultural studies. His legacy lives on through his powerful words and ideas.
From the renowned author of The African Trilogy, a political satire about an unnamed African country navigating a path between violence and corruption
As Minister for Culture, former school teacher M. A. Nanga is a man of the people, as cynical as he is charming, and a roguish opportunist. When Odili, an idealistic young teacher, visits his former instructor at the ministry, the division between them is vast. But in the eat-and-let-eat atmosphere, Odili’s idealism soon collides with his lusts—and the two men’s personal and political tauntings threaten to send their country into chaos. When Odili launches a vicious campaign against his former mentor for the same seat in an election, their mutual animosity drives the country to revolution.
Published, prophetically, just days before Nigeria’s first attempted coup in 1966, A Man of the People is an essential part of Achebe’s body of work.
Chinua Achebe is considered the father of modern African literature, the writer who “opened the magic casements of African fiction.” The African Trilogy–comprised of Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, and No Longer at Ease–is his magnum opus. In these masterly novels, Achebe brilliantly imagines the lives of three generations of an African community as their world is upended by the forces of colonialism from the first arrival of the British to the waning days of empire.
The trilogy opens with the groundbreaking Things Fall Apart, the tale of Okonkwo, a hero in his village, whose clashes with missionaries–coupled with his own tragic pride–lead to his fall from grace. Arrow of God takes up the ongoing conflict between continuity and change as Ezeulu, the headstrong chief priest, finds his authority is under threat from rivals and colonial functionaries. But he believes himself to be untouchable and is determined to lead his people, even if it is towards their own destruction. Finally, in No Longer at Ease, Okonkwo’s grandson, educated in England, returns to a civil-service job in Lagos, only to see his morality erode as he clings to his membership in the ruling elite.
Drawing on the traditional Igbo tales of Achebe’s youth, The African Trilogy is a literary landmark, a mythic and universal tale of modern Africa. As Toni Morrison wrote, “African literature is incomplete and unthinkable without the works of Chinua Achebe. For passion, intellect and crystalline prose, he is unsurpassed.”
This special, large-format, lavishly-illustrated edition of Things Fall Apart, ‘Africa’s best loved novel’, is a timely tribute to ‘the father of modern African Literature’. It is published to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of a book now considered a classic of African and World Literature. This edition uniquely blends the enduring simplicity of Achebe’s tale with the creative visual talents of some of Nigeria’s best and bright contemporary artists. The result is a book that will appeal to lovers of African Literature and Art the world over. A treasured testament to the art of story-telling, Things Fall Apart Illustrated is bound to become a collector’s item.