Nigerian novelist, poet, essayist, statesman and dissident Chinua Achebe died Thursday in Boston after a brief illness. He was 82. Achebe emerged upon the literary world in 1958 with the publication of his influential novel “Things Fall Apart,” which has sold more than 10 million copies and has been translated into more than 50 languages.
“For a long time, the story of Africa was told almost exclusively through the words of European writers,” Jeffrey Brown reported in 2008 for an interview with the author. “That began to change in the 1950s, as African countries achieved independence and African writers began to tell their own stories. One book in particular, ‘Things Fall Apart,’ … has become a classic of world literature.”
Achebe spent much of his life in the United States. Paralyzed from the waist down after an auto accident in 1990, he lived for many years in a cottage on the campus of Bard College, where he was a faculty member. He joined Brown University in 2009 as a professor of languages and literature.
Watch Jeff’s 2008 interview with Achebe below:
You can read the transcript here.