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Achebe, Chinua


Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His more than 30 published works of fiction, poetry, children's literature, nonfiction, and critical essays continue to shape the way African literature is read, written, and disseminated around the world. In an essay written early in his career, “The Novelist as Teacher,” Achebe identified his mission as a writer, “to help my society regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of the years of denigration and self-abasement” ( 1975b , 71). Achebe believed in the power of stories to rebuild a new reality after the impact of colonialism. As he explains in his novel Anthills of the Savannah , “The story is our escort; without it, we are blind” ( 1987 , 114). Born on November 16, 1930 to Christian parents Isaiah Okafor and Janet Anaenechi Iloegbunam Achebe in Ogidi in Eastern Nigeria, Chinua Achebe was baptized Albert Chinualumogu. In interviews and some of his writings, Achebe recalled that, when he was growing up, there was a clear dividing line between Christians and non-Christians. Christian children like himself were forbidden to eat in the house of heathens or pay reverence to family totems, which the Christians referred to as idols. Yet, as Achebe explains in his essay “Named for Victoria, Queen of England,” “those idols and that food had a strange pull on me,” so he aligned himself with both worlds simultaneously ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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