NPR : News

Filed Under:

Chinua Achebe, Nigerian Author Of 'Things Fall Apart,' Dies

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports from Lagos, Nigeria, on the death of one of Africa's greatest contemporary writers. Quoting his publisher, AP, CNN, and the BBC are reporting Chinua Achebe has died.

Chinua Achebe who taught at colleges in the United States made literary history with his 1958 best-seller Things Fall Apart, a sobering tale about Nigeria at the dawn of independence.

Achebe, 82, played a critical role in establishing post-colonial African literature and is known to students all over the continent for his seminal novel, Things Fall Apart. Achebe's masterpiece has graced countless school and college syllabuses and is translated into fifty languages worldwide.

It is often cited as the most read book in modern African literature and has sold more than 12 million copies.

Achebe also was an essayist and an outspoken critic of successive Nigerian governments, poor leadership and institutionalised corruption. He passed up national honors in protest.

Achebe taught Africana Studies at Brown University and before that at Bard College in New York. Many of his fans feel that the award-winning writer was passed over for and should have won a Nobel prize.

In a 2009 interview with All Things Considered, Achebe talked about his book in relation to Joseph Conrad's 1902 novella Heart of Darkness, which looked at colonialism through the eyes of an Englishman. Achebe said at first he was seduced by the book, but then "realized how terribly terribly wrong it was to portray my people — any people — from that attitude." Things Fall Apart presents colonialism from the perspective of Africans.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Oct. 6, 2015

A play springs forth from an iconic photo, and a photography exhibit transports visitors back to the Civil War.


Budapest Foodies Hope Cuisine Can Help Heal Anti-Migrant Prejudice

Forget the goulash. Budapest's restaurants have been featuring refugee cuisine — think Syrian sweets, Afghan pies and Eritrean flatbread. It's a festival to foster understanding through food.
WAMU 88.5

Are D.C. Charter Schools Funded Fairly?

A debate about education funding digs up a decades-old fight for D.C. home rule.

WAMU 88.5

Computer Guys And Gal: Taking Selfies To New Heights And More

Mobile ad blocking comes to iPhones, updated Android comes to new Nexus phones, and "dronies" -- video selfies shot by a GoPro on a drone -- come to Instagram. The Computer Guys and Gal explain.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.