Achebe, Chinua

1930–2013
Nigerian writer

Chinua Cinualomogu Achebe is a Nigerian writer whose novels often explore the difficult choices faced by Africans in modern life. Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is considered a classic and is one of the most widely read works of African literature. The hero of the book commits suicide, unable to choose between radically different ways of life shaped by traditional values and European values.

Achebe worked as a teacher and writer before serving as director of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation between 1961 and 1966. During the Nigerian civil war (1967–1970), he returned to his home territory of Igboland (renamed Biafra), which was attempting to secede from NIGERIA. Achebe became a spokesperson for Biafra in Europe and North America. After the war he taught at several universities in Africa and the United States.

In addition to his novels, Achebe has written short stories and poetry inspired by his experiences during the war. He is also the author of several children’s books intended specifically for use in African schools. (See also Literature.)

Achebe, Chinua