8 things to know about the inspirational Nigerian novelist

Google Doodle of November 16, 2017, pays homage to Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic.

Google Doodle of November 16, 2017, pays homage to Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic.

Achebe’s influence on African literature is fathomless. He’s been described as the “father of modern African literature” with novels which projected Nigerian and African culture globally at a time when much of the continent was freshly free from the shackles of colonialism.

Below are 8 things to know about the author who inspired Africans to tell their story.

1. His book "Things Fall Apart" published in 1958, is widely regarded as the first major work of modern African fiction and inspired others to tell the continent's story through the eyes of those who lived there.

This book is regarded as the most read African literature, has sold more than eight million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages.

2. In that respect, Achebe can be regarded as a pioneer in the fight to counter lazy racist stereotypes that have been used to portray Africa in literature and journalism.

3. The Nigerian government was often also a target of Achebe’s criticism. Twice, in 2004 and in 2011, he rejected the government’s offer to name him Commander of the Federal Republic, one of Nigeria’s very highest honours. Achebe cited unchecked corruption in government as his reason for turning down the awards.

4. During the Biafra war, Achebe sided with Biafra and worked with the breakaway government to push for the creation of a new country. As communications chief for Biafra, Achebe led efforts to secure aid and raise awareness about the plight of his people around the world.

5. South African writer and Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer called Achebe the "father of modern African literature" in 2007 when she was among the judges to award him the Man Booker International prize for fiction.

6. He had lived and worked as a professor in the United States most recently at Brown University in Rhode Island.

7. A 1990 car accident left him in a wheelchair and limited his travel. Achebe died on March 21, 2013, aged 82 in the United States of America.

8. His other novels included "A Man of the People" and "Arrow of God". He also wrote short stories, poems and children's stories.

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