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Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart,” published about 55 years ago, virtually introduced African-written fiction to the rest of the world. Not only that, his story of a traditional village hero, come to grief under the Western ways imported by the British, has been a huge and continuing success, translated into numerous languages, and selling a reported 12 million copies.
Now in his 80s, having written a number of other novels on African themes and taught for years at colleges in the United States — Bard and currently at Brown — Achebe has published a kind of hybrid memoir. The first and more interesting part tells of his upbringing and early days.
The second part is an account of the abortive three-year secession of his native Biafra from the rest of newly independent Nigeria in the late 1960s, and the hideous civil war that followed. There is indeed a personal element here. He was a backer of independence, went on diplomatic missions to rally support abroad, and found himself fleeing the bloody advance of the Nigerian federal forces which, together with a choking embargo, cost as many as 3 million Biafran lives, mainly children.
After Biafra’s surrender, despite promises of no reprisals by the federal government, some crippling economic measures were imposed. Achebe briefly joined in an attempt to form a party that would promote reconciliation, but found that the quarrels and compromises of political life did not suit him, and he returned to writing and teaching
This part of the story is a thinly written paraphrase of a history in which Achebe, like so many of his fellow Biafrans, was less a shaper than an unhappy and at times critical spectator. Though collaborating as an intellectual with Biafra’s strong-willed, often harsh military ruler, Odumegwu Ojukwu, he regrets his refusal to seek solutions and speculates that someone more flexible might have done better.
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has backed his literary colleague, Prof. Chinua Achebe, in the raging controversy over the roles of some prominent Nigerians during the Nigerian civil war.
Soyinka, in an interview published in The Telegraph of London, but obtained by THISDAY yesterday, said the Igbo were victims of genocide during the three-year civil war, which was fought to break up Nigeria.
Achebe had stirred the hornet's nest in his civil war memoir, "There Was A Country", when among others, he accused wartime Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and the then Finance Minister, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, of carrying out a genocide against the Igbo.
The claim has generated considerable controversy, with many commentators accusing Achebe of re-writing history.
Soyinka, however, justified the secession bid and described Biafrans as "people who'd been abused, who'd undergone genocide, and who felt completely rejected by the rest of the community, and therefore decided to break away and form a nation of its own."
He also condemned religious militancy, saying now is the time to tackle Boko Haram, the insurgent group that has visited terror on the North, killing over 1,500 since 2009.
Nigeria: Achebe On Awo - Igbo, Yoruba Leaders in 'Verbal Warfare'
BY OKEY NDIRIBE, GBENGA ARIYIBI AND CHARLES KUMOLU, 8 OCTOBER 2012
Controversy surrounding the new book written by Prof. Chinua Achebe deepened yesterday with South West and South East leaders drawing sharp divisions over the aptness of claims in the book that Chief Obafemi Awolowo implemented genocidal policies against Ibos during the Biafran war.
While Odua Peoples Congress, OPC founder Dr. Fredrick Fasheun accused Achebe of living in the past, a number of South West leaders berated Achebe as a frustrated man bent on pouring out his bitterness against a nationalist.
The denunciations against Achebe were, however, sharply rebutted by a number of South East leaders, including the commander of the army of the Biafran Republic, Gen. Alex Madiebo (rtd.,) who said Achebe understated the hostility of Awolowo to the Ibo nation during the civil war.
While erstwhile governor of Enugu State and former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo said Achebe's assertions were correct, another former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju expressed concern that the acrimony could jeopardise on-going efforts to unify the people of the South.
In his new book, "There was a Country" Achebe alleged among others that Awolowo's desperation for power "drove him into a frenzy to go to every length to achieve his dreams. In the Biafran case it meant hatching up a diabolical policy to reduce the numbers of his enemies significantly through starvation, eliminating over two million people, mainly members of future generations."
The claim has been met with sharp denunciations by Awoists and Yoruba leaders.
Achebe living in the past - Fashehun
Continuing the rebuttal Dr. Fasheun yesterday said: "Chinua Achebe is a frustrated person. He feels that attacking noble people like Awolowo is right. Awolowo has a reputable place in Nigeria's history. The trio of Awolowo, Sardauna and Zik were leaders who did well for this country, hence their quality legacies should not be smeared in anyway. Achebe is living in the past."
"Ibos no longer care about such lamentation, what the Ibos are interested in is how they can be more relevant in the mainstream of Nigerian politics. So, Achebe's attack on Awolowo is not in the best interest of the political aspirations of the Ibos in today's Nigeria. What he has done is to distort history."
Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe (born 16 November 1930) popularly known as Chinua Achebe (play /ˈtʃɪnwɑː əˈtʃɛbeɪ/) is a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic.
By Nasrin Pourhamrang
Recently, the classic African novel “Things Fall Apart” by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe was translated into Persian by Ali Hodavand and released in Iran. Nasrin Pourhamrang, Editor-in-Chief of Hatef Weekly Magazine interviewed the author on a wide range of topics from Art, culture and literature;politics, cultural and linguistic preservation; to the legacy of colonialism and his forthcoming book there was a Country-A personal history of Biafra.
Technology has come to the help of the borderless world of art and literature and has eliminated the geographical frontiers. How do you feel about the fact that your novel has been translated into Persian and that Iranian readers can read some of your works for the first time and make an acquaintance of Chinua Achebe?
I received the news of the Persian translation of Things Fall Part with great joy!Of course, one of the goals of any writer is to connect with his or her readers. Things Fall Apart in particular, indeed all my books, have enjoyed a warm readership. I am particularly grateful for the effort of the translators of my work.
They extend the reach of Art, in this case stories, to more people who may not have encountered them in the original English. I am told with this Persian translation that Things Fall Apart now exists in nearly 60 world languages! It is a wonderful blessing and I am deeply, deeply, grateful! So, the fact that readers in Iran can also read my work is very important to me.
Translated into Persian by Ali Hodavand, Things Fall Apart, a novel by Chinua Achebe has been released in Iran.
THE classic novel, Things Fall Apart by the master novelist, Prof. Chinua Achebe, which was published in 1958, is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, and one of the first African novels written in English to receive global critical acclaim.
It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. The title of the novel comes from William Butler Yeats’s poem, “The Second Coming”.
The novel depicts the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia—one of a fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria, inhabited by the Igbo people (archaically, and in the novel, “Ibo”). It focuses on his family and personal history, the customs and society of the Igbo, and the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo community during the late nineteenth century.
Things Fall Apart, the world best-selling novel by Nigerian author, Prof. Chinua Achebe, has been translated into Persian by Ali Hodavand and has been released in Iran.
Things Fall Apart is an English-language novel by Achebe, published in 1958.
It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, and one of the first African novels written in English to receive global critical acclaim, according to IBNA.
It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. The title of the novel comes from William Butler Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming”.
The novel depicts the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia — one of a fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria, inhabited by the Igbo people (archaically, and in the novel, “Igbo”).
It focuses on his family and personal history, the customs and society of the Igbo, and the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo community during the late nineteenth century.
The novel is studied widely in Europe and North America, where it has spawned numerous secondary and tertiary analytical works.
Chinua Achebe’s classic novel, ‘Things Fall Apart’ has been named one of the ‘50 Most Influential Books of the last 50 years’.
Things Fall Apart, the classic novel by Africa’s foremost novelist Chinua Achebe, has been named one of the “fifty most influential books of the last 50 years.”
The selection was made by a group called “SuperScholar.” Achebe’s first novel, published in 1958 and translated into more than sixty languages, is one of several novels by other world acclaimed writers. Other novels on the list include Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Achebe, who is the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University in Providence, RI, is the author of five novels, several volumes of poetry as well as essay collections. His latest book, There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra, will be published in September, 2012.
There is no doubt, Albert Chinualumogu Achebe’s upcoming memoirsThere Was a Country, A Personal History of Biafra, is arguably the most anticipated...
There is no doubt, Albert Chinualumogu Achebe upcoming memoir There Was a Country, A Personal History of Biafra is arguably the most anticipated (...)...
Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe (born 16 November 1930) popularly known as Chinua Achebe, poet and novelist, is one of the most important living African writers. He is also considered one of the most original literary artists currently writing in English. Achebe was raised by Christian evangelical parents in the large village Ogidi, in Igboland, Eastern Nigeria. He received early education in English, but grew up surrounded by the complex fusion of Igbo traditions and the colonial legacy. He studied literature and medicine at the University of Ibadan; after graduating, he went to work for the Nigerian Broadcasting Company in Lagos. Things Fall Apart (1958) was his first novel. It has been translated into at least forty-five languages, and has sold eight million copies worldwide.