Chinua Achebe

Literary Lion

Chinua Achebe grew up loving stories. He was born in southeastern Nigeria in 1930 in the village of Ogidi. His parents converted to Christianity and traveled as evangelists. He attended a prestigious secondary school and studied English literature at University College in Ibadan.

Along the way, he had an epiphany: If an English village populated by Jane Austen could be the setting for universal stories, why couldn't a Nigerian village? His debut novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), set in an Igbo community on the cusp of colonization, became a worldwide best seller. "There is that great proverb," Achebe told the Paris...

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