Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930 in Ogidi, an Igbo town in eastern Nigeria. In his early years, he attended University of Ibadan to study English and got his degree there. He joined the Nigerian Broadcasting System in 1961 and stayed with them through 1966. Later on, he co-founded publishing company Citadel Press alongside renowned poet Christopher Okigbo. Unfortunately, soon after, Okigbo was killed in the Nigerian civil war. In 1969, Achebe toured the United States with other writers, giving lectures at universities across the country. He then returned home and became a researcher and English professor at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He also became the director of two Nigerian publishing companies – Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. and Nwankwo-Ifejika Ltd. In 1975, he lectured on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, titling his lecture “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” speaking on the dehumanization of Africans in the novel. The same year, he became part of the faculty at the University of Connecticut, and returned to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka a year later. In the early 1990s, he became paralyzed from the neck down after a nearly fatal car accident, restricting him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Achebe moved back to the U.S. afterwards, remaining at Bard College for the next 15 years. He left Bard College in 2009 to join Brown University’s faculty, where he was a professor of Africana Studies. Through the course of his life, he received more than 30 honorary degrees from universities all over the world. He won many awards, including the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize and the Man Booker International Prize. He died at the age of 82 on March 21st, 2013.
Photo from The Economist
Video: Chinua Achebe discusses the state of Africa 50 years after his publication of Things Fall Apart
“Chinua Achebe.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 02 Apr. 2014. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.
“Things Fall Apart.” Chinua Achebe Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.
“Chinua Achebe.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 30 Mar. 2013. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.