Nigerian author Chinua Achebe.

Chinua Achebe

(1930 - 2013)

Chinua Achebe has been called the “founding father of African literature,” and his book Things Fall Apart is the best-selling African novel of all time. Born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe in Nigeria in 1930, named after Queen Victoria’s husband, Achebe dropped the Christian name while at the University College, Ibadan, where he studied medicine and then the liberal arts. Grappling in his work with the conflict between traditional African values and Western colonialism, Achebe once said, “Decency and civilization would insist that you take sides with the powerless.” After an automobile accident in Nigeria in 1990 that left him partially paralyzed, he moved to the United States, where he taught at Bard College in New York, and later at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

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As the saying goes, an old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.

—Chinua Achebe, 1958

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