Chinua Achebe: The Father of African Literature

The biography of Chinua Achebe, a prominent Nigerian writer and a key figure in African literature.

Early Life:

Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe was born on November 16, 1930, in Ogidi, a town in southeastern Nigeria. Coming from the Igbo ethnic group, Achebe grew up in a multicultural environment, experiencing both the traditional customs of his ancestors and the influence of British colonialism.

Educational Journey:

Achebe’s educational journey began at Government College Umuahia, where he was exposed to a blend of Western and African literature. Later, he attended the University College (now the University of Ibadan), studying English, history, and theology.

Literary Debut – “Things Fall Apart”:

In 1958, Achebe published his groundbreaking novel, “Things Fall Apart.” This novel, set in pre-colonial Nigeria, explores the impact of British colonialism on Igbo society. It is widely considered a seminal work in African literature, challenging Western narratives and offering an authentic African perspective.
Chinua Achebe

Advocacy for African Literature:

Chinua Achebe played a pivotal role in advocating for the recognition and celebration of African literature. Through his essays and lectures, he championed the importance of African voices in storytelling and resisted the notion that African literature should conform to Western expectations.

Literary Contributions:

Achebe’s literary career spanned several novels, essays, and poems. Notable works include “No Longer at Ease,” “Arrow of God,” and “A Man of the People.” His storytelling prowess and ability to capture the complexities of African societies earned him international acclaim.

Impact Beyond Literature:

Beyond his literary achievements, Achebe was a cultural ambassador and educator. He held teaching positions at various universities, including the University of Nigeria and Bard College. His commitment to education and the arts extended to his role as a founding editor of the influential literary magazine “Okike.”

Political Engagement and Exile:

Achebe’s involvement in Nigerian politics was marked by his criticism of corruption and military rule. Following the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), he became disenchanted with the government’s actions and eventually went into exile. During this period, he continued to write and lecture internationally.


Chinua Achebe’s legacy is deeply ingrained in African literature and postcolonial studies. His works have influenced generations of writers and continue to be studied worldwide. Achebe’s impact extends beyond literature; he remains a symbol of intellectual courage, cultural pride, and the power of storytelling.
Chinua Achebe


Chinua Achebe’s life and work embody the resilience of African identity and the transformative potential of literature. His unwavering commitment to portraying authentic African narratives has left an indelible mark, solidifying his place as the “Father of African Literature.”

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