Nigerian author Prof. Chinua Achebe is dead

The late Professor Chinua Achebe

Professor Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most famous authors has died. The Nigerian born literary icon died on 22nd March 2013 at the age of 82.

Prof. Achebe’s 1958 debut novel “Things Fall Apart” was translated into more than 50 languages and sold more than 10 million copies.

Prof. Achebe’s novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of Western and traditional African values during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory.

He also published a number of short stories, children’s books, and essay collections. From 2009 until his death, he served as a professor at Brown University in the United States.

In “Things Fall Apart”, Prof. Achebe wrote: “The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

Explaining the role of an artist, Prof. Achebe once said: “…Let me say that I do think decency and civilization would insist that the writer take sides with the powerless. Clearly, there’s no moral obligation to write in any particular way. But there is a moral obligation, I think, not to ally oneself with power against the powerless. I think an artist, in my definition of that word, would not be someone who takes sides with the emperor against his powerless subjects.”

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