DR. A. DEVARAJ Director, Training & Placement & Senior Faculty in English Loyola College, Chennai The one who wrote No Longer at Ease is no more Chinua Achebe (1930- 2013)
South African writer and Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer called Achebe The "father of modern African literature" in 2007, when she was among the judges to award him the Man Booker International prize for fiction.
Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: • "Like many contemporary Nigerian writers, I grew up on a literary diet that comprised a huge dose of Achebe's works.” • "My parents were so proud of his accomplishments, and quoted the Igbo proverbs in his books almost as frequently as they quoted Shakespeare."
ChukwumaAzuonye, Professor of African and African Diaspora Literatures at the University of Massachusetts in Boston: • "Achebe's influence has been completely seminal and inspirational, and there are writers that have been called the School of Achebe who have imitated his style,"
Senegalese Novelist, Boubacar Boris Diop: • "I systematically advise young authors to read Chinua Achebe. I've often bought copies of Things Fall Apart and offered them to young writers. It's well written - in the sense that it's not written at all. In it, you won't find any great lyrical phrases. That's the great force of this book. It's written in simple language."
A Man for the People: • Simple Language: Like Henry Hemingway: "Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond," Chinua Achebe wrote in 'Things Fall Apart‘, in 1958. • Turned down by many a publisher, later Heinemann published it. 8 million copies & translated into 50 languages
An Inspiration for a Whole New Generation of Writers • Toni Morrison called: Achebe's work an "education" for her and "liberating in a way nothing had been before.” • African scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah: "It would be impossible to say how Things Fall Apart influenced African writing. "It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers or Pushkin influenced Russians. Achebe didn't only play the game, he invented it."
A Man of Letters • A trilogy was intended to follow TFA and Achebe continued its story in No Longer At Ease (1960) and Arrow of God (1964). He also wrote short stories, poems, children's stories and a political satire, The Anthills of Savannah (1987), his last full length fiction.
Making of the Man: • Born in Ogidi, Anambra, South Eastern Nigeria, Achebe combined the Igbo legends and the prose of Dickens. • Wrote about the "the essence, the meaning, the worldview” of both the ethnic religion & his father’s Christianity • Supported the Biafra war; His friend, Christopher Okigbo, the poet, got killed in it
No Longer at Ease: • On getting his bachelor’s from the University College of Ibadan in 1953, he joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation • Later in London in BBC • Influenced by W.B. Yeats & T.S. Eliot
A Man of the People • A Man of the People and No Longer at Ease were the novels based on corruption and collapse that anticipated the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70 and the years of mismanagement that followed it. • Casualties, a collection of poems, J.P.Clark, specially addressed a poem to Chinua.
Presiding Deity of Heinemann • Editor of Heinemann's "African Writer Series,” published works by Ngugi wa Thiongo, Nadine Gordimer, Stephen Biko, poems, & short stories by many others. • "A major objective was to challenge stereotypes, myths, and the image of ourselves and our continent, and to recast them through stories - prose, poetry, essays, and books for our children. That was my overall goal."
Short stories • Marriage Is A Private Affair (1952) • Dead Men's Path (1953) • The Sacrificial Egg and Other Stories (1953) • Civil Peace (1971) • Girls at War and Other Stories (including "Vengeful Creditor") (1973) • African Short Stories (editor, with C.L. Innes) (1985) • Heinemann Book of Contemporary African Short Stories (editor, with C.L. Innes) (1992) • The Voter
Poetry • Beware, Soul-Brother, and Other Poems (1971) (published in US as Christmas at Biafra, and Other Poems, 1973) • Don't let him die: An anthology of memorial poems for Christopher Okigbo (editor, with DubemOkafor) (1978) • Another Africa (1998) • Collected PoemsCarcanet Press (2005) Refugee Mother And Child • Vultures
Essays, criticism, non-fiction and political commentary • The Novelist as Teacher (1965) • An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" (1975) • Morning Yet on Creation Day (1975) • The Trouble with Nigeria (1984) • Hopes and Impediments (1988) • Home and Exile (2000) • Education of a British Protected Child (6 Oct. 2009) • There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra (11 Oct. 2012 )
Famous Quotes of Achebe: • A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself • Nigeria is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be • When a tradition gathers enough strength to go on for centuries, you don’t just turn it off one day • Nigeria has had a complicated colonial history. My work has examined that part of our story extensively