Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe (chĬn´wä ächā´bā), 1930–2013, Nigerian writer, b. Albert Chinualumogu Achebe. A graduate of University College, Ibadan (1953), Achebe, an Igbo who wrote in English, is one of Africa's most acclaimed authors, and is considered by some to be the father of modern African literature. He taught briefly before becoming an executive at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (1961–66). Pioneering in their portrayal of African life from an African perspective, his early novels are the groundbreaking Things Fall Apart (1958), which has been acclaimed his masterpiece and is probably the most widely read book by a black African writer; No Longer at Ease (1960); and Arrow of God (1964). Forming a thematic trilogy, these works poignantly describe the confusing and often destructive effects of European colonialism and Western values on individual characters as well as on Igbo society, Nigeria, and the newly independent African nations.

His next novel, the political satire A Man of the People (1966), foreshadowed Nigeria's 1966 coups. Achebe served as a diplomat (1966–68) for Biafra during the Nigerian civil war and later wrote two volumes of poetry, Beware, Soul Brother (1971) and Christmas in Biafra (1973), and one of literary essays, Morning Yet on Creation Day (1975), about the war. He taught at the Univ. of Nigeria, Nsukka (1976–81), and was founding editor (1971) of the influential journal Okike. Achebe returned to the novel with Anthills of the Savannah (1988), which explores the corruption and idealism of political life in postcolonial Africa. He also wrote numerous short stories, children's books, and essays. A paraplegic as a result of a 1990 automobile accident near Lagos, Achebe received medical treatment in London and in the United States, where he settled (1990). He taught at Bard College from 1990 to 2009 and at Brown from 2009 until his death. Three personal works, Home and Exile (2000), a collection of essays reflecting on his and his nation's coming of age; the autobiographical essays of The Education of a British-Protected Child (2009); and his memoir-history of the Biafran war, There Was a Country (2012), are the only books he published during this period. In 2007 he was awarded the Man Booker International Prize.

See B. Lindfors, ed., Conversations with Chinua Achebe (1997); biographies by Ezenwa-Obaeto (1997) and T. M. Sallah and N. Okonjo-Iweala (2003); studies by R. Wren (1980), B. C. Njoku (1984), C. L. Innes (1990), S. Gikandi (1991), K. H. Petersen and A. Rutherford, ed. (1991), R. O. Muoneke (1994), A. Gera (2001), E. N. Emenyonu, ed. (2003), M. Pandurang, ed. (2006), J. Morrison (2007), and B. Lindfors (2009); M. K. Booker, ed., The Chinua Achebe Encyclopedia (2003)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Understanding Things Fall Apart: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents
Kalu Ogbaa.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Understanding Things Fall Apart: Selected Essays and Criticism
Solomon O. Iyasere.
Whitston, 1998
The Four Novels of Chinua Achebe: A Critical Study
Benedict Chiaka Njoku.
Peter Lang, 1984
Achebe the Orator: The Art of Persuasion in Chinua Achebe's Novels
Ghinwe Christiana Okechukwu.
Greenwood Press, 2001
The Chinua Achebe Encyclopedia
M. Keith Booker.
Greenwood Press, 2003
Oral Tradition and Modern Storytelling: Revisiting Chinua Achebe's Short Stories
Ogede, Ode.
International Fiction Review, Vol. 28, No. 1-2, January 2001
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Textual Dynamics in Chinua Achebe's Home and Exile and No Longer at Ease
Munro, Ian H.
International Fiction Review, Vol. 31, No. 1-2, January 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Contemporary African Literature and the Politics of Gender
Florence Stratton.
Routledge, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "How Could Things Fall Apart for Whom They Were Not Together?"
The African Imagination: Literature in Africa & the Black Diaspora
F. Abiola Irele.
Oxford University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "The Crisis of Cultural Memory in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart"
Tradition and Modernity in the African Short Story: An Introduction to a Literature in Search of Critics
F. Odun Balogun.
Greenwood Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Tradition and Modernity in the African Short Story: Achebe and Io Liyong"
Outsiders and Insiders: Perspectives of Third World Culture in British and Post-Colonial Fiction
Michael Harris.
Peter Lang, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "The Cultural Clash: Joyce Cary and Chinua Achebe"
Writing and Cultural Influence: Studies in Rhetorical History, Orientalist Discourse, and Post-Colonial Criticism
Lahcen E. Ezzaher.
Peter Lang, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Four "The Colonial Subject Speaks Back: Chinua Achebe's Critique of Conrad's Heart of Darkness"
Postcolonial Contraventions: Cultural Readings of Race, Imperialism, and Transnationalism
Laura Chrisman.
Manchester University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "'The Killer That Doesn't Pay Back': Chinua Achebe's Critique of Cosmopolitics"
Challenging Hierarchies: Issues and Themes in Colonial and Postcolonial African Literature
Leonard A. Podis; Yakubu Saaka.
Peter Lang, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "A Critical Debate on Achebe's Depiction of Women" p. 109
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator