Father of African Literature Dies, A Nation Mourns Chinua Achebe

Nigeria is in a state of mourning after one of its most celebrated men passed away. Bookstores in Lagos quickly sold all of their Chinua Achebe books soon after the news of his death, such was the influence of a man.

“In the last five decades, just about every post-colonial African author, one way or another, has been engaged in a creative call-and-response with Chinua Achebe," said author Lola Shoneyin. "You are never weaned off his fiction because it renews itself. It gives you something new every time. He was just that kind of storyteller." His most popular book was his first - Things Fall Apart. Chika Unigwe, a fellow novelist, recalls reading his masterpiece. "I like to imagine it was on a Sunday afternoon, right after lunch, lying on my bed. I [clearly] recall … the wonder of reading the world he creates in the book so beautifully. Its power did not hit me until years later when I re-read it as a much older reader. I am immensely grateful to him."

"As we say in Igboland, when an extraordinary person dies, the iroko [African teak] has fallen," said Dora Akunyili, a former minister who worked with Achebe during his tenure at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Achebe died in hospital in Boston, having lived in America for years. He will, by all accounts, be sorely missed as a writer and a man. (via Guardian).


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