Late Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe, considered the father of modern African literature, would have been 87 years old today and google’s search-page artwork added a Doodle to his list of honors. Achebe died when he was 82, in 2013.
Achebe’s best known novel, “Things Fall Apart,” has sold more than eight million copies and has been translated into more than 50 languages.
“One man took it upon himself to tell the world the story of Nigeria through the eyes of its own people,” Google said on the landing page explaining the Doodle. “Chinua Achebe (born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe) was the studious son of an evangelical priest. A student of English literature, he started writing in the 1950s, choosing English as his medium but weaving the storytelling tradition of the Igbo people into his books.”
On twitter google posted:
“Google in Africa Verified account @googleafrica : Today we celebrate Chinua Achebe’s 87th birthday. Considered by many to be the father of modern African literature, Achebe has touched many lives with his words. #GoogleDoodle”
Achebe’s novel, 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.
The global acclaim of Things Fall Apart, a story about Okonkwo, an Igbo leader who struggles with the arrival of Christian missionaries in his village, was a universal tale about the impact of colonial rule in Africa. It arguably helped set the tone for African literature and writers taking charge of their own narrative using distinct African characters.
His other novels included No Longer At Ease, A Man of the People, Arrow of God etc.
A renowned champion of African voices, Achebe was also a vocal critic of those whom he felt did a disservice to the continent’s literary tradition. He is particularly well-known for his vehement objection to Joseph Conrad’s landmark novel Heart of Darkness, a fictionalized tale about a journey along the Congo River. Achebe described Conrad as a “bloody racist” and said that the novel transformed Africa into “a metaphysical battlefield devoid of all recognizable humanity.”
Achebe’s later life was marked by teaching and somewhat belated recognition in the West. He was elected to the Honorary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1982, and was awarded the Man Booker International Prize in 2007.
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.
Achebe spent his final years teaching at Brown University in Rhode Island, and died in Boston after a short illness in 2013. He was laid to rest in his hometown of Ogidi, in Nigeria’s Anambra State.