Chinua Achebe, renowned as Africa’s most famous novelist and author who died in Boston, USA, on 21st March 2013 at the age of 82. He is recognized as the founding father of Modern African writing in English.
The publication of his first novel Things Fall Apart not only contested European narratives about Africa but also challenged traditional assumptions about the form and function of the novel.
His literary life spanned over fifty years, from the publication of Things Fall Apart (1958) to There Was A Country (2012), his memoir of the Nigerian Biafran war in the 1960s. His first novel, Things Fall Apart – a classic of 20th century fiction has been translated into over 50 languages and sold millions of copies all over the world.
Before Achebe came on the world literary scene in the late 1950s, African literature was considered by the rest of the world and more sadly, by many educated Africans themselves, as a quixotic enterprise, in which dark forests and evil spirits held all the shares. Achebe was not only an accomplished writer but also a man who was close to his readers and had the precious gift of being a great communicator and storyteller of African realities. His legacy as one of Africa’s most vocal voices against the ravages of colonialism and its long-term effects on Africa will endure through his writings for generations to come.
This volume is a fitting memorial to his legacy. Achebe was the conscience of Africa – his death gives new significance to his writing, anchoring his activism and his literary legacy in eternity. He will be remembered internationally as one of Africa’s greatest writers.