Friday, March 22, 2013

Chinua Achebe dies at 82

Achebe is (was?) one of my favorite authors. I've read Things Fall Apart several times and have gone out of my way to read many of his other works not available here in Kentucky.

Image and article via NYT

Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian writer who was black Africa’s most widely read novelist and one of the continent’s towering men of letters, has died after a brief illness, his publisher and agent said in London on Friday. He was 82.

Few details were immediately available.

Besides novels, Mr. Achebe’s works included powerful essays and poignant short stories and poems rooted in the countryside and cities of his native Nigeria, before and after independence from British colonial rule. His most memorable fictional characters were buffeted and bewildered by the conflicting pulls of traditional African culture and invasive Western values.

For inspiration, Mr. Achebe drew on his own family history as part of the Ibo nation of southeastern Nigeria, a people victimized by the racism of British colonial administrators and then by the brutality of military dictators from other Nigerian ethnic groups.

Mr. Achebe burst onto the world literary scene with the publication in 1958 of his first novel, “Things Fall Apart,” which sold millions of copies and was translated into 45 different languages.

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