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Chinua Achebe
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    (November 16, 1930-March 21, 2013)
    Born in Ogidi, Nigeria
    Birth name was Albert Chinualumogu Achebe
    Novelist and poet
    Wrote the novels 'Things Fall Apart' (1958), 'No Longer At Ease' (1960), 'Arrow of God' (1964), 'A Man of the People' (1966) and 'Anthills of the Savannah' (1987)
    Poetry collections include 'Beware, Soul Brother and Other Poems' (1971) and 'Another Africa' (1998)
    Wrote the children's books 'Chike and the River' (1966), 'How the Leopard Got His Claws' (1972), 'The Flute' (1975) and 'The Drum' (1975)
    Served as unofficial spokesperson for Biafra when it attempted to secede from Nigeria (1967-70)
    He lost a college scholarship when he switched studies from medicine to English and theology.
    He controversially called Joseph Conrad a 'bloody racist.'
    He blamed the 20 year gap between his fourth and fifth novels on the after effects of the Biafra war: 'A novel seemed like a frivolous thing to be doing.'
    His explanation for why he never won the Nobel Prize in Literature: 'It is a European prize. It's not an African prize.'
    He decided to become a writer after noticing that in all the books he read, Africa was described through white people's eyes.
    He said, 'There is a great proverb that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.... Once I realized that, I had to be a writer.'
    His description of a coup in 'A Man of the People' was so similar to a real coup that occurred later in the year that the military attempted to arrest him, thinking that he must have had been involved in planning it.
    While he and his family fled to Britain and safety, his wife suffered a miscarriage.
    He was paralyzed below the waist in a car crash (1990).
    He twice refused Nigeria's top honor to protest government corruption (2004,2011).
    One scholar said about his impact, 'It would be impossible to say how 'Things Fall Apart' influenced African writing. It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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