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CHINUA ACHEBE. “The Father of Modern African Literature”. Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was born into an Ibo family on November 16, 1930 in Eastern Nigeria Son of Isiah Okafo, a Christian mission teacher, and Janet N. Achebe

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chinua achebe

“The Father of Modern African Literature”

Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was born into an Ibo family on November 16, 1930 in Eastern Nigeria
  • Son of Isiah Okafo, a Christian mission teacher, and Janet N. Achebe
  • Educated at a government college in Umuahia and graduated from the University College at Ibadanin 1954
He married Christie Chinwe Okoli, September 10, 1961 and now has four children
  • While working for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, he composed his first novel, Things Fall Apart
  • In 1969 toured the United States with fellow writers Gabriel Okra and Cyprian Ekwensi, lecturing at universities
Has received 11 honorary doctorates
  • Has won the Margaret Wrong Memorial Prize
  • Has won the Nigerian National Trophy
  • Has won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize
  • Has won the Lotus Award for Afro-Asian writers
Appointed research fellow at University of Nigeria and became professor of English, which he held from 1976 to 1981
  • Devoted supporter of Biafran independence and served as ambassador for the people of the new nation
  • He lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s, and returned in 1990 after a car accident left him paraylazed
achebe s philosophy
Achebe’s philosophy
  • “I would be quite satisfied. . . if my novels did no more than teach my [African] readers that their past – with all its imperfections – was not one long night of savagery from which the first Europeans acting on God’s behalf delivered them.”
achebe on writing
Achebe on Writing
  • Says that “the folk stories my mother and elder sister told us had the immemorial quality of the sky and the forests and the rivers”
  • Feels that Nigerian’s growing sense of nationalism caused the Nigerians to see “suddenly that we had a story to tell”
influence on literature
  • First African writer to win broad critical acclaim in Europe and America and the most widely read African novelist, Chinua Achebe has shaped the world’s understanding of Africa and its literature.
  • Achebe was the first Nigerian writer to successfully transmute the conventions of the novel, a European art form, into African literature
  • Famous for his novels describing the effects of Western customs and values on traditional African society. Achebe’s satire and his keen ear for spoken language have made him one of the most highly esteemed African writers in English
quotes from chinua achebe
Quotes from Chinua Achebe
  • “People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.”
  • “When old people speak it is not of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.”
  • “A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.”

important works
  • Things Fall Apart
  • No Longer at Ease
  • Arrow of God
  • A Man of the People
  • Anthills of the Savannah
things fall apart
Things Fall Apart
  • Published in 1958
  • Was his first novel
  • “was an act of atonement with my past, the homage of a prodigal son”
  • Became the first novel written in English by an African writer to be included in secondary curriculum for African schools in 1964
things fall apart1
Things Fall Apart
  • “portrays a complex, rigid society that could not adjust to the new order without sacrificing its traditional values”
  • Characters use aphorisms and stories to convey their thoughts – an Ibo tradition
things fall apart2
Things Fall Apart
  • Chronicles the traumatic effects of the confrontation between traditional Ibos and European colonialists
  • Is brutally honest and does not cast blame in only one direction
  • Has said that the Ibo culture “has believed too much in manliness.” Perhaps this is part of the reason it crashed.
works cited