Literary Giant Chinua Achebe Dead at 82
'Things Fall Apart' author gave literary birth to modern Africa
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 22, 2013 9:16 AM CDT
Chinua Achebe poses his life at his home on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York where he is a professor in this Jan. 22, 2008 file photo.   (Craig Ruttle)

(Newser) – Chinua Achebe, the internationally celebrated Nigerian author, statesman, and dissident who gave literary birth to modern Africa with Things Fall Apart and continued for decades to rewrite and reclaim the history of his native country, has died following a brief illness. He was 82. His eminence worldwide was rivaled only by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, and a handful of others. Achebe was a moral and literary model for countless Africans and a profound influence on such American writers as Morrison, Ha Jin, and Junot Diaz.

As a Nigerian, Achebe lived through and helped define revolutionary change in his country, from independence to dictatorship to the disastrous war between Nigeria and the breakaway country of Biafra in the late 1960s. Things Fall Apart, a short novel about a Nigerian tribesman's downfall at the hands of British colonialists, was initially rejected by several publishers. It has since sold more than 8 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 50 languages. Achebe never did win the Nobel Prize, which many believed he deserved, but in 2007 he did receive the Man Booker International Prize, a $120,000 honor for lifetime achievement. Click for more on Achebe's life.

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Mar 23, 2013 7:42 AM CDT
Rest in peace.
Mar 22, 2013 1:44 PM CDT
Mr. Achebe was an Ibo. The Ibo are legendary in Haiti. They are a strongly independent people. My hero Paul Robeson's grandfather on his father's side was an Ibo. Oné, respé. AYIBOBO pou yon gwo mapou ki tonbe. A great tree has fallen. Ibo Granmoun : The Roots of Haitian Democracy "As Haiti continues to struggle to build a democracy, we pause to remember one root of our democracy. Although the word democracy is from Greece, the concept of democracy arose independently in other societies. It arose among the Ibo people of today’s Nigeria, where people’s right to have a voice in how they are ruled was respected. The ancient Ibo people of Nigeria had a democratic state. Unlike their neighbors, the Nago, the Guedevi, and the Mayi, who were ruled by a noble class, the Ibo people were not ruled by monarchs. They had no kings, nor queens. The Ibo people were their own authority. Here in the song, this concept is presented as Ibo Granmoun, meaning the Ibos take orders from no one." Haitian folk song: Ibo Granmoun O Granmoun O Ibo Granmoun O Lakay Ibo Ibo Granmoun O The Ibos are their own authority / Their own authority / The Ibos are their own authority / In Iboland / The Ibos are their own authority Ebos (Igbo's) Landing
Mar 22, 2013 10:56 AM CDT
love his writing...Things Fall Apart is one of my all time favorite reads, and the title of my favorite Roots album. rest in peace, Mr. Achebe.