Famed Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, best known for his work Things Fall Apart, died last night in a Boston hospital at the age of 82. The author’s novels, short stories, and poems talked about his native Nigeria before and after independence from Great Britain. Here’s what you should know about the “Father of African Literature.”
1. Chinua Died of an Undisclosed Illness
According to Africa’s Premium Times, Chinua Achebe died on Thursday night at a hospital in Boston. A source close to the family said he died from an undisclosed illness. His literary agent, Andrew Wylie, released a statement regarding the author’s sudden passing:
One of the great literary voices of his time, he was also a beloved husband, father, uncle and grandfather, whose wisdom and courage are an inspiration to all who knew him. Professor Achebe’s family requests privacy at this time.
2. His Works Are Known Worldwide
Chinua Achebe’s works, including his magnum opus, Things Fall Apart, have all been critically acclaimed for showing readers what it was like living in Nigeria back in his time during the Colonial Era. His first novel, Things Fall Apart, was published in 1958, selling millions of copies, and was translated into 45 languages. His novel has become a staple of African literature, being read in universities in Europe and the United States. He followed up his work with two sequels, No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God, which became part of his African trilogy. He wrote five novels as well as short stories, poems, and essays accounting the changes over the years in Nigeria.
3. He Was Born in Southeastern Nigeria
Chinua Achebe was born and raised in the Igbo region of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria with five siblings. The Nigerian native excelled in his education and went to University College in Nigeria, studying English, history and theology. He moved to Lagos after getting an opportunity to work at the Nigerian Broadcasting Service. He traveled to most of Eastern Africa, Brazil and America once his novel Things Fall Apart was published, making him a renowned author.
4. Chinua Worked as a Professor at Brown University
After a car accident in Lagos left him paralyzed, he was wheelchair-bound and ended up moving to America, where he worked as a professor at Bard College in New York in the 1990s. In 2009, he joined Brown University’s faculty as a professor in Africana Studies. As part of Brown University, he also oversaw his Colloquium on Africa, a lecture program that uses his work to teach students about Africa and its history.
5. He is Survived By His Wife and Four Kids
While working at NBS, he met his wife Christie Okoli, who worked at the news station as a staff member. The two married on September 10, 1961, and had two daughters and two sons. Chinua is also survived by his six grandchildren.