BREAKING NEWS: Chinua Achebe is Dead

Tragedy has befallen the land. The iroko has fallen. The Eagle On The Iroko, Prof. Chinua Achebe, is dead.

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Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most celebrated writers and author of the classic novel Things Fall Apart, is dead.

He died last night in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Professor Achebe had been sick for some time.

He was 82, having been born on November 16, 1930, and had been in hospital in recent days.

Achebe is best known for his classical novel Things fall Apart. His last book, There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra, is still making waves.

Until his death, Prof Achebe was the David and Mariana Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africans Studies at Brown.

“Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is known the world over for having played a seminal role in the founding and development of African literature. He continues to be considered among the most significant world writers. He is most well known for the groundbreaking 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, a novel still considered to be required reading the world over. It has sold over twelve million copies and has been translated into more than fifty languages.

“Achebe’s global significance lies not only in his talent and recognition as a writer, but also as a critical thinker and essayist who has written extensively on questions of the role of culture in Africa and the social and political significance of aesthetics and analysis of the post-colonial state in Africa. He is renowned, for example, for “An Image of Africa,” his trenchant and famous critique of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Today, this critique is recognized as one of the most generative interventions on Conrad; and one that opened the social study of literary texts, particularly the impact of power relations on 20th century literary imagination.

“In addition, Achebe is distinguished in his substantial and weighty investment in the building of literary arts institutions. His work as the founding editor of the Heinemann African Writers Series led to his editing over one hundred titles in it. Achebe also edited the University of Nsukka journal Nsukkascope, founded Okike: A Nigerian Journal of New Writing and assisted in the founding of a publishing house, Nwamife Books–an organization responsible for publishing other groundbreaking work by award-winning writers. He continues his long-standing work on the development of institutional spaces where writers can be published and develop creative and intellectual community.”

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