Chinua Achebe

(b. 1930) Nigerian novelist, poet, short-story writer, and essayist

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(1930– )

Nigerian novelist and poet of Ibo descent.

Born in Ogidi, in eastern Nigeria, the son of a mission teacher, Achebe was educated at the University College of Ibadan. In 1954 he joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation and in 1961 became director of external broadcasting. During this period he wrote the four novels that won him international acclaim: Things Fall Apart (1958), No Longer At Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), and A Man of the People (1966). All four focus on the moral and practical dilemmas of Africans caught up in the disorientating clash between western values and traditional lifestyles, and have been translated into many languages. Leaving broadcasting, Achebe taught at the University of Nigeria at Nsukka (1967–72), and followed this by a spell in the USA before returning to Nsukka as professor of English in 1981. Achebe was prochancellor of Anambra State University from 1986 to 1988 and is now a visiting professor at various US universities. He published a book of poems, Beware Soul Brother, in 1972 and won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize the same year. He has also published short stories on traditional African themes. In 1979 he was awarded the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His later publications include the novel, Anthills of the Savannah (1987) and Hopes and Impediments (1988), a selection of his essays.

Subjects: Literature.

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Works by Chinua Achebe