Chinua Achebe

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Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930.
He was raised in the large village of Ogidi, one of the first centres of Anglican missionary work in Eastern Nigeria, and is a graduate of University College, Ibadan.

His early career in radio ended abruptly in 1966, when he left his post as Director of External Broadcasting in Nigeria during the national upheaval that led to the Biafran War. Achebe joined the Biafran Ministry of Information and represented Biafra on various diplomatic and fund-raising missions. He was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and began lecturing widely abroad. For more than 15 years he was the Carles P. Stevenson Jr Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College; he then became the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.

Chinua Achebe wrote more than 20 books – novels, short stories, essays and collections of poetry – including Things Fall Apart (1958), which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 50 languages; Arrow of God (1964); Beware, Soul Brother and Other Poems (1971), winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize; Anthills of the Savannah (1987), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction; Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays (1988); and Home and Exile (2000).

Chinua Achebe received numerous honours from around the world, including the Honorary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as honorary doctorates from more than 30 colleges and universities. He was also the recipient of Nigeria’s highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize. He died on 22nd March 2013.