Thursday, January 3, 2008

Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe
Born: November 16, 1930; Ogidi, Nigeria

Chinualomagu (Albert) Achebe was born on November 16, 1930, in Ogidi, Nigeria, a large Ibo village in the rainforest lands not far from the banks of the Niger River. He was the second youngest of six children born to Isaiah Achebe, a teacher-catechist for the Church Missionary Society and one of the first people of his region to convert to Christianity.

Achebe’s novels, which comment strongly on the stages of change that have affected the entire African continent in the past one hundred years, not only are chronicles of events and trends in African history but also are extremely artistic expressions that contain a definite purpose. Unlike many novelists, Achebe rejects the notion that the writer is an individual who writes for his own personal pleasure or merely for the purpose of artistic expression. Instead, he sees the novelist as an educator. For example, in an interview with Bernth Lindfors, Achebe states: “One big message of the many that I try to put across, is that Africa was not a vacuum, before the coming of Europe, that culture was not unknown in Africa, that culture was not brought to Africa by the white world.” Through his novels, his poetry, his short stories, his career as an educator, and his extension into editing the African Writers series for Heinemann Educational Books, Achebe has succeeded in founding and nurturing a major literary movement of the twentieth century.

edited text(s)
Beyond Hunger in Africa, 1990 (with others)
African Short Stories, 1985 (with C. L. Innes)
Don’t Let Him Die: An Anthology of Memorial Poems for Christopher Okigbo, 1932-1967, 1978 (with Dubem Okafor)
Aka Weta: An Anthology of Ibo Poetry, 1978
The Heinemann Book of Contemporary African Short Stories, 1992 (with Innes)

miscellaneous
Another Africa, 1998 (1998)

nonfiction
Conversations with Chinua Achebe, 1997 (Bernth Lindfors, editor)
Hopes and Impediments, 1988
The Trouble with Nigeria, 1983
Morning Yet on Creation Day, 1975
Home and Exile, 2000

children’s literature
The Drum, 1977
How the Leopard Got His Claws, 1972 (with John Iroaganachi)
Chike and the River, 1966
The Flute, 1977

long fiction
Anthills of the Savannah, 1987
A Man of the People, 1966
Arrow of God, 1964
No Longer at Ease, 1960
Things Fall Apart, 1958

short fiction
Girls at War, 1972
The Sacrificial Egg, and Other Stories, 1962
“Dead Men’s Path”, 1953

poetry
Collected Poems, 2004
Christmas in Biafra, and Other Poems, 1973
Beware: Soul Brother, and Other Poems, 1971, 1972

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