Noted Nigerian Writer, Chinua Achebe, dies

Southeast Library

Noted Nigerian Writer, Chinua Achebe, dies

Chinua AchebeOne of Africa’s most prolific and renowned writers, Chinua Achebe, died on March 22, 2013 at 82 after a brief illness. At the epoch of his career was the publication of his masterpiece, Things Fall Apart in 1958. A novel that was the first of its kind, written by an African about African values, has since become a regular part of the language arts curriculum throughout the continent of Africa and beyond, large in part due to its richness in cultural heritage.

The octogenarian published more than 20 books and essays mostly about his native Igbo culture and city life in Nigeria. He was widely considered a sage on African literature and Igbo culture. As editor of the African Writers Series, Achebe also coached and mentored many African writers notably, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.
As fluid as his literary career was, Achebe was a controversial figure in his political life. He was an advocate of Nigerian independence from colonial rule in the 1950s but supported and worked for Eastern Nigeria’s quest for a Biafra state during the Nigerian civil war of 1967. After the war he once again embraced and worked for a united Nigeria. He spent much of his criticizing the corrupt regimes that governed his country in last quarter of the 20th century.

At death, Albert Chinualumogu Achebe would be remembered as a scholar, literary critic, activist and for his wit, dedication to his ethnic and cultural values and, above all, Things Fall Apart.

The Southeast Book Club read and critiqued Things Fall Apart on Feb. 26.

You can find more in-depth information about Achebe's life and work through the DC Public Library's databases, Books and Authors or Biography in Context. A valid DC Public Library card number is required for access.