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Nigerian Authors - Literature

Chinua Achebe
12 June, 2007
 

12 April 2007
Judges’ List Announced

01 June 2006
Judging Panel Announced

27 June 2005
Man Booker International Chairman Challenges UK Publishers

22 June 2005
TRANSLATOR'S PRIZE NOMINATED BY ISMAIL KADARÉ

02 June 2005
ALBANIAN NOVELIST WINS INAUGURAL MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2005

06 May 2005
The Man Booker International Prize Announces Additional Award for Translation

13 June 2007 - The father of modern African writing, wins 2007 Man Booker International Prize

Chinua Achebe is today, 13th June, announced as the winner of the second Man Booker International Prize.

The Man Booker International Prize is worth £60,000 to the winner and is awarded once every two years to a living author for a body of work that has contributed to an achievement in fiction on the world stage. It was first awarded to Ismail Kadaré in 2005.

Achebe is probably best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart, written in 1958 and Anthills of the Savannah, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1987.  
 
Chinua Achebe comments:
"It was 50 years ago this year that I began writing my first novel, Things Fall Apart. It is wonderful to hear that my peers have looked at the body of work I have put together in the last 50 years and judged it deserving of this important recognition. I am grateful."

Achebe was born in 1930 and educated at the Government College in Umuahia and at the University College of Ibadan, Nigeria. He joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Company in Lagos in 1954 and during 1956 studied broadcasting at the BBC, in London.

A diplomat in the ill-fated Biafran government of 1967-1970, Achebe's work is primarily centred on African politics, the depiction of Africa and Africans in the West, and the intricacies of pre-colonial African culture and civilization, as well as the effects of colonialisation on African societies.

He has lectured at many universities worldwide and is now Charles P Stevenson Jr Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College, Annandale, New York State.

Many African writers have been inspired by Achebe’s work. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who won the Orange Prize for Fiction last week for Half A Yellow Sun is one of them, recently commenting: “He is a remarkable man. The writer and the man. He's what I think writers should be."

The judging panel for the 2007 Man Booker International Prize is: Professor Elaine Showalter, academic and author; Nadine Gordimer, writer and novelist; and writer and academic, Colm Tóibin. The panel each had the following comments to make:

Elaine Showalter:
“In Things Fall Apart and his other fiction set in Nigeria, Chinua Achebe inaugurated the modern African novel.  He also illuminated the path for writers around the world seeking new words and forms for new realities and societies. We honour his literary example and achievements.”

Nadine Gordimer:
“Chinua Achebe’s early work made him the father of modern African literature as an integral part of world literature.  He has gone on to achieve what one of his characters brilliantly defines as the writer’s purpose: ‘a new-found utterance’ for the capture of life’s complexity.  This fiction is an original synthesis of the psychological novel, the Joycean Stream of Consciousness, the post-modern breaking of sequence – thereby out-dating any prescriptivity.  A joy and an illumination to read.”

Colm Tóibin:
“Chinua Achebe has been one of my heroes since I read his book Things Fall Apart. This book manages to capture an essential moment in the colonial drama; it dramatises momentous change with clarity, sympathy and astonishing fluency and ease.  His other books, especially A Man of the People and No Longer At Ease have worked with a mixture of tones, from the satiric, to the prophetic.  Anthills of The Savannah manages a variety of voices and cadences with the skill and deep insight of the real master of the novel form.”
                                
The Man Booker International Prize seeks to recognise a living author who has contributed significantly to world literature and to highlight the author’s continuing creativity and development on a global scale.  

Harvey McGrath, Chairman of Man Group plc, comments:
“Chinua Achebe’s novels describing the effects of Western customs and values on traditional African society have made him one of the most highly esteemed African writers in English.  We are delighted to honour him as the recipient of the second Man Booker International Prize.”

Chinua Achebe will receive the prize of £60,000 and a trophy at the Award Ceremony on 28 June 2007 at Christ Church in Oxford.

-ends-

The Winner

CHINUA ACHEBE
Chinua Achebe born November 16, 1930 and educated at Government College in Umuahia and at the University College of Ibadan, Nigeria. He received a BA from London University in 1953 and in 1956 studied broadcasting in London at the BBC. He joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Company in Lagos in 1954, later becoming its Director of External Broadcasting. During the Civil War in Nigeria he worked for the Biafran government service. After the war he was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, of which he is now Emeritus Professor of English. He has lectured at many universities worldwide and is now Charles P Stevenson Jr Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College, New York State, Annandale.

Achebe's work is primarily centred on African politics, the depiction of Africa and Africans in the West, and the intricacies of pre-colonial African culture and civilization, as well as the effects of colonialisation on African societies.

Things Fall Apart was published in 1958, and is considered among the finest novels ever written. Having sold over 10 million copies around the world, it has been translated into 50 languages, making Achebe the most translated African writer of all time. He is the recipient of over 30 honorary degrees as well as numerous awards for his work.

In 2004, Achebe declined to accept the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) - Nigeria's second highest honour - in protest of the state of affairs in his native country.

Paralysed from the waist down in a 1990 car accident, he is married to Professor Christine Chinwe Achebe, with whom he has four children.

Chinua Achebe has written over 20 books, including novels, short stories, essays and collections of poetry.
Novels
Things Fall Apart 1958
No Longer at Ease 1960
Arrow of God 1964
A Man of the People 1966
Chike and the River 1966
Anthills of the Savannah 1988

Short Stories
The Sacrificial Egg and Other Stories 1962
Civil Peace 1971
Girls at War and Other Stories 1973
African Short Stories (editor, with C.L. Innes) 1985
Heinemann Book of Contemporary African Short Stories (editor, with C.L. Innes) 1992

Poetry
Beware, Soul-Brother, and Other Poems 1971 published in the US as *Christmas at Biafra, and Other Poems, 1973
Don't let him die: An anthology of memorial poems for Christopher Okigbo (editor, with Dubem Okafor) 1978
Another Africa 1998
Collected Poems 2004

Essays, Criticism and Political Commentary
An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" 1975
Morning Yet on Creation Day 1975
The Trouble With Nigeria 1984
Hopes and Impediments 1988
Home and Exile 2000

Children's Books
Dead Men's Path 1972
How the Leopard Got His Claws (with John Iroaganachi) 1972
The Flute 1975
The Drum 1978

Chinua Achebe lives in Annandale, New York State

Contact:
EMMA SWEENEY AGENCY, LLC
245 East 80th Street
New York, NY 10021
646-827-4381
info@emmasweeneyagency.com
www.emmasweeneyagency.com

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