World-renowned Nigerian author and David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies Chinua Achebe passed away on Friday. He was 82.
Achebe’s 1958 novel Things Fall Apart is regarded as one of the most important forces in the development of African literature, and it is through this work that Achebe “gave birth to a modern Africa.” The book has sold over 12 million copies in English and has been translated into more than 50 languages. Additionally, Achebe has written several essays, short stories, and poems that draw on his experience growing up in Nigeria, deal with the tension between colonialism and African values, and address questions about the role of African culture in postcolonial Africa.
Achebe was a beloved member of the Brown community: he joined the Brown faculty in 2009 as the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University, and oversaw the annual Achebe Colloquium on Africa, which has continuously attracted scholars and government officials from all over the world. According to its webpage, the colloquium, which has been convened by Achebe himself, brings key thinkers and figures together to discuss “the importance of strengthening democracy and peace on the African continent.” You can see a comprehensive list of Achebe’s works here; each work is a testament to his unwavering commitment to contributing to the dialogue on postcolonial Africa, African culture, and other relevant topics.