Chinua Achebe Dies

By Eun Kyung Kim, TODAY contributor
Nigerian novelist and poet Chinua Achebe, whose 1958 novel “Things Fall Apart” addressed colonialism on African society, has died.
His publisher, Penguin, confirmed his death, at age 82, his publisher said Friday.
Achebe’s breakthrough novel focused on the clash between Western and traditional values. It told the story of colonialism for the first time from an African perspective, and has sold more than 10 million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages.
Nelson Mandela has credited Achebe for bringing “Africa to the rest of the world” and called him “the writer in whose company the prison walls came down.”
Achebe played a pivotal role in the development of African literature. He is the author of more than 20 books, including novels, short stories, essays and poetry collections. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction.
“We are saddened by the death of the ‘Father of African literature’ Chinua Achebe,” said Russell Perreault, publicity director for Random House’s Vintage and Anchor Books. He noted that Achebe once said, “If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.”
“We are grateful that he told his story and left us with a legacy of great literature and a better understanding of Africa,” Perreault said in a statement.
Achebe was born Nov. 16, 1930 and raised in the village of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria. After graduating from college, he started a radio career that ended abruptly in 1966 during the national upheaval that led to Nigeria’s civil conflict, known as the Biafran War.
Achebe joined the Biafran Ministry of Information and represented Biafra on various diplomatic and fund-raising missions, according to the biography posted by Achebe’s other publisher, Penguin. He was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and began lecturing widely abroad.
At the time of his death, Achebe was a professor of Africana studies at Brown University. He also had been the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College for more than 15 years.
Achebe had lived in Rhode Island with his wife, with whom he had four children.
A spokeswoman for Penguin said the family would be releasing a statement shortly.

Posted by on Mar 24 2013. Filed under Breaking News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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