SPEAKER: Chinua Achebe
EVENT DATE: 11/03/2008
RUNNING TIME: 72 minutes


Through his fiction and non-fiction works, Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has sought to repair the damage done to the continent of Africa and its people as a result of European colonization. This is best exemplified in his most famous novel "Things Fall Apart," one of the first African novels written in English to achieve national acclaim. Set in the 1890s, the novel deals with the impact of British colonialism on the traditional Igbo society in Nigeria. Published in 1958 -- just two years before the end of a century of British rule in Nigeria -- the novel celebrated its 50th anniversary of publication in 2008. "An Evening with Chinua Achebe" featured the author reading from his celebrated work.

Speaker Biography: The novelist Chinua Achebe is one of the best-known African writers in the West and his novels are often assigned in university courses. Achebe's unsentimental, often ironic books vividly convey the traditions and speech of the Ibo people. Born in Ogidi, Nigeria, Achebe was educated at the University College of Ibadan (now the University of Ibadan). He subsequently taught at various universities in Nigeria and the United States. Achebe wrote his first novel, "Things Fall Apart" (1958), partly in response to what he saw as inaccurate characterizations of Africa and Africans by British authors. The book describes the effects on Ibo society of the arrival of European colonizers and missionaries in the late 1800s. Achebe's subsequent novels "No Longer at Ease" (1960), "Arrow of God" (1964), "A Man of the People" (1966), and "Anthills of the Savannah" (1987) are set in Africa and describe the struggles of the African people to free themselves from European political influences. During Nigeria's tumultuous political period of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Achebe became politically active. Most of his literary works of this time address Nigeria's internal conflict. These books include the volumes of poetry "Beware, Soul Brother" (1971) and "Christmas in Biafra" (1973), the short-story collection "Girls at War" (1972), and the children's book "How the Leopard Got His Claws" (1972). In 1971 Achebe helped to found the influential literary magazine Okike. His other writings include the essay collections "Morning Yet on Creation Day" (1975), which he later expanded under the title "Hopes and Impediments" (1988); and "The Trouble with Nigeria" (1983).

SERIES: Books & Beyond

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