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Chinua Achebe at Irvine: Celebration of Black Literature

Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart, the 2002 Penn Reading Project book, will speak on the Celebration of Black Literature at Irvine Auditorium, on Friday, February 14, at 4 p.m.

The Office of the President, Office of the Provost, the Center for Africana Studies in SAS, and Art Sanctuary will present acclaimed Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, perhaps best known for his widely read novels Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God and Anthills of the Savannah.

Chinua Achebe, the fifth of his parents' six children, was raised in a Christian evangelical family in the large village of Ogidi, one of the first centers of Anglican missionary work in Igboland in Eastern Nigeria.

In 1958, Things Fall Apart was published and was hailed as a revealing portrait of pre-colonial African culture. The book also raises the broader topic of an older culture giving way to modernity. More than two millions copies have been sold in the United States since its publication.

Mr. Achebe draws material for his novels from both traditional oral literature and from a rapidly changing society, heavily influenced by the West. He rejects the European notion that art should be accountable to no one and has embraced the idea at the heart of the African oral tradition that myths and stories were told for a human purpose.

Mr. Achebe has written short stories, poems, novels and essays about Nigeria. His poetry volume, Christmas in Biafra, was the joint winner of the British Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1972. He has also received 28 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He is the Charles Stevens Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College, in New York.



  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 21, February 11, 2003