Nov. 16 would have been Chinua Achebe’s 87th birthday. He died in 2013, but the influence of this esteemed author is still very much alive. Here are 5 key things you need to know about Chinua and his life.
1. Chinua Achebe’s first novel is one of the most highly-regarded pieces of literature. Things Fall Apart was published in 1958. The book received worldwide acclaim. Things Fall Apart is the first of Chinua’s trilogy of books that focus on pre- and post-colonial life in late nineteenth century Nigeria. The other two books in the trilogy, No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God, were published in 1960 and 1964. Chinua is often regarded as the father of modern African literature.
2. He once called Heart of Darkness author Joseph Conrad a “bloody racist.” He called Joseph that while giving a speech at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Feb. 1975, according to Heavy.com. Chinua’s shocking comments about Joseph made news around the world. He also called Joseph’s most well-known work, Heart of Darkness, “totally deplorable.”
3. He met his wife while working for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service. Christiana Chinwe Okoli also worked for NBS. Their first conversation was about pay discrepancy, according to Chinua’s Wikipedia page. When Christiana was later hospitalized for an appendectomy, Chinua came to visit her.
4. He was badly injured in a car accident with his son in 1990. Chinua’s spine was severely damaged when the car flipped. Unfortunately, he was paralyzed from the waist down after the devastating accident.
5. He was a supporter of Biafran independence. When the region of Biafra decided to break away from Nigeria in 1967, Chinua became a prominent figure for the Biafran people. The Nigerian government later retook the region in 1970. He got involved in politics within the Nigerian government but later resigned.
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