'Father of African literature' passes away
Chinua Achebe - The Nigerian writer seen by millions as the father of African literature, has died at the age of 82. His death was confirmed by his to the Guardian following an illness. He is said to have died in Boston.
Achebe won the Commonwealth poetry prize for his collection Christmas in Biafra. He was a finalist for the 1987 Booker prize for his novel Anthills of the Savannah, and in 2007 won the Man Booker international prize. Simon Winder, publishing director at Penguin, called him an "utterly remarkable man", adding: “Chinua Achebe is the greatest of African writers and we are all desolate to hear of his death," he said. His family requested privacy, and paid tribute to "one of the great literary voices of all time. He was also a beloved husband, father, uncle and grandfather, whose wisdom and courage are an inspiration to all who knew him." His first novel Things Fall Apart, was published in 1958 and tells the story of the Igbo warrior Okonkwo. "The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers and our clan can no longer act like one," says Okonkwo's friend, Obierika, in the novel.
The poet Jackie Kay hailed Achebe as "the grandfather of African fiction" who "lit up a path for many others", adding that she had read Things Fall Apart "countless times”. She added: "It is a book that keeps changing with the times, as he did."
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