Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian writer who was one of Africa’s most widely read novelists and one of the continent’s towering men of letters, died on Thursday in Boston. He was 82.
His death was announced by Brown University, where he had been on the faculty since 2009.
Besides novels, Mr. Achebe’s works included powerful essays and poignant short stories and poems rooted in the countryside and cities of his native Nigeria, before and after independence from British colonial rule. His most memorable fictional characters were buffeted and bewildered by the conflicting pulls of traditional African culture and invasive Western values.
For inspiration, Mr. Achebe drew on his own family history as part of the Ibo nation of southeastern Nigeria, a people victimized by the racism of British colonial administrators and then by the brutality of military dictators from other Nigerian ethnic groups.
Mr. Achebe burst onto the world literary scene with the publication in 1958 of his first novel, “Things Fall Apart,” which has sold more than 10 million copies and been translated into 45 different languages.[via The New York Times]