Africa’s Leading Novelist Chinua Achebe Dies At 82

Chinua Achebe-Photo credit:
By SaharaReporters, New York

Professor Chinua Achebe, one of the world’s most celebrated writers and author of the classic novel Things Fall Apart, is dead.

SaharaReporters learned that Achebe, who was the David and Mariana Fisher Professor of Literature at Brown University, died last night in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Professor Achebe had been sick for some time. He was 82 years old.

Prof. Achebe's literary agent, Andrew Wylie and his publisher, Scott Myers confirmed his death.

A friend of the Achebe family told SaharaReporters that the family would be making a formal announcement after consulting with others, including Professor Achebe’s publishers and Brown University.

Achebe had been wheel chair-bound since sustaining serious injuries in a 1990 automobile accident near Awka, the capital of Anambra State. The accident left him paraplegic. Since receiving treatment for his injuries in a hospital in the UK, Achebe had lived in the US, teaching at Bard College at Annandale-on-Hudson and, for the last four years, at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.  At Brown, he instituted the “Achebe Colloquium on Africa,” a huge annual conference that gathered policy makers, scholars and activists from around the globe to discuss some of the major issues pertaining to African democracy and development.

Achebe was born on November 16, 1930 and was educated at Government College Umuahia and University College, Ibadan. At Ibadan, Professor Achebe was initially admitted to study medicine, but he decided to change his areas of concentration to literature, history and religion.

After graduating from university, he worked for Radio Nigeria, rising to the post of director of External Broadcasting. He also began his career as a writer, catapulting himself to the height of Africa’s most widely read novelist. His first novel, Things Fall Apart, is the largest selling book by any African author. The novel has sold more than 10 million copies and has been translated into approximately sixty languages around the world. The classic work was followed by such other novels as No Longer At Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People, and Anthills of the Savannah. In addition, Achebe authored several books of essays, including Morning Yet on Creation Day, Hopes and Impediments, Home and Exile, and The Education of a British-Protected Child. Professor Achebe also published two books of poetry, a collection of short stories entitled Girls At War, a political polemic titled The Trouble With Nigeria, and several children’s books. His works won numerous literary prizes, including the Man Booker Prize and the Gish Prize for artistic excellence which he received in 2010.

Professor Achebe’s latest book, There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra, generated great controversy and debate in Nigeria and around the world when it was published in October of 2012. The book is Achebe’s insider account of his formation as a writer as well as a series of crises that led to Nigeria’s civil war in which a reported two million people perished.

During the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970), Achebe served as an envoy of the secessionist state of Biafra.

Achebe was the scourge of bad rulers in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. His book The Trouble With Nigeria criticized Nigerian leaders for their “failure of leadership.” He twice rejected offers of Nigerian national honors in protest against the policies of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. However, he won the inaugural edition of the Nigerian National Merit Award in the mid-1980s.

Achebe is survived by his wife, Christie Chinwe Achebe, a professor of psychology, and four children – Chinelo (a professor), Ikechukwu (a researcher and academic), Chidi (a medical doctor based in Boston, Massachusetts), and Nwando (a professor of history at Michigan State University) – as well as several grandchildren.

SaharaReporters was told that the family had yet to make funeral arrangements. We could not ascertain whether Professor Achebe will be buried in his hometown of Ogidi or in the US.  

46 comment(s)
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Achebe was bitter to the end, btter? that he did not win the NOBEL PRICE. For this reason He turned National merit award from two Nigerian Presidents!!!How unpatrotic? As a product of Nigeria Educational system, who rose to be the Head of Voice of Nigeria External Broadcasting, He never foster Nigerian unity,He lived and died a fictitious life bitter to the end. He got the best from Nigeria but what did he give Nigeria in Return....divisiveness...that is why he died a poor man in a foreign land. He had no root in Nigeria/ biafra...all his entire family, wife, children and grand children are American citizens .As a story teller , he lack vision and class to be a Nigerian National hero, that is why he will not be buried as one....GOOD RIDIANCE

And you THINK.....

That the BLOOD sucking VAMPIRES BOKO HARAMS and your MURDEROUS OPC of your stock are better?.

@DeleAwogdeoba &Osagie

Dele & Osagie ex-convicts.Sexually abuse by their uncle.Father a pimp, mother ashawo.Rejected and Dejected by the society.The two nuisances lacks respect bacause the two lacks parental care.

Good bye Professor

The world will miss you but you will forever remains in our hearts till the end of the time.

@Onikumo Ekun

Are you sure that you are Yoruba. You are paying tribute to a man who maligned a great Yoruba man in death. If Achebe can't respect the Yoruba dead you need not show him that honour in his own death. What was written by Dele was true anyway!

Chinua Achebe,Your memory lives on in the hearts of millions!

William Shakespeare:
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;..

You were never a whining school boy or ever sought after 'bubble reputation'; instead you stood up for honor, never allowing your reputation to be soiled by phantom awards. Who wants to be associated with crooks and charlatans?

Chinua Achebe, you always spoke your MIND and stood up for honor, probity, equity, integrity and good governance in Nigeria when things started to fall apart! May you have eternal peace. Your memory lives on in the hearts of millions that know that you are valued more than a million Nobel prizes. Adieu.

achebe died as bianfran

despite the fact that he died as a great novelist last publication realy showed the reason why the Igbos should not rule this country. They a hiden agenda on Biafra, they are still Biafrans.

Adieu Great Biafran Soldier

Achebe consistently refused Nigerian honour. He wanted to die as a Biafran. Ojukwu on the other hand accepted the honour and the gifts that came with it and thus died as a Nigerian. If it was his choice to be buried in the US, so be it but if he chooses to be buried in Ogidi by Biafran ex-warlords, so be it. Nigerians can only sympathize and appreciate who he wanted to be. He was a great novelist and promoted Ibo nationalism profoundly, even if it meant hurting others.

You Dele are a FOOL! Period.

You Dele are a FOOL! Period.

Rest in Peace- Great One!

Amongst the committee of Nations, you gave Us, Africans, a voice and an Identity. At home, you made Us proud to be Igbo! Thank You, Prof Achebe. Rest in peace - The Great One.

On Chinua Achebe's Death

An Iroko has fallen, all the birds will be running helter-skelter. Chinualumogu, nwa-Achebe, you have left an indelible mark on the sand of time. Surely your corporeal presence will be missed dearly but you have left behind a lot of immortal legacies both in print and on the minds of many, young and old alike. A super cross-generational icon,a man of indefatible moral fiber, Anambra State, Igboland, Nigeria, Africa, Europe, America and the entire universe will miss you dearly. Nigeria in particular has been blessed, or, and woken up to the bitter realities of life both by your literary and attitudinal eloquence. Who will fill your giant shoes for us? May your fine soul rest in peace - Amen. My heartfelt condolence goes to your family, Ogbunike, Anambra, Nigeria, Africa and umu-Igbo, in particular. Adieu, Achebe, a great mind and soul of wit.
Fr. Patrick Nnaa Nsionu (Professor of Philosophy/English - Essex County College, New Jersey).

@Onikumo, do not mind the retards. Awogbeoba a retard, Igboboy b

Onikumo Ekun, Do not mind those people. Awogbeogba seems to be a retard who can write in English, that Igboboy from I cant remember from where again is too dirty mouthed.

The greater lesson for young minds....

...If only Achebe had died before his final publication, he would have died a true hero. He died lonely, bitter, tribalistic and in a strange land.
Adieu Biafran.

A light has been spent

Chinua, Rest in peace. A shinning light has just been spent.

....If only Achebe had died

....If only Achebe had died before he published his final book he would have died a true hero. He died lonely, bitter and in a strange land.

A true son of Nigeria

Achebe must be counted as one of the best literary talents the world has produced. He will also be remembered as a paragon of virtue and exemplary morality- a timeless icon that stood out in the sea of sleaze and impunity as represented by the PDP goons, thieves, fornicators and murderers in the likes of the hypocritical and thieving bro Jonathan and his sadistic band of fellow looters and election riggers. May his soul rest in perfect peace!

Dele Awogbeoba it is only a

Dele Awogbeoba it is only a fool that will believe you are Yoruba, You surname have no meaning in Yoruba. my question is why do you write such rubbish on behalf of Yoruba?

RE: Evil finally departs.... A tribute

It would have been better if you had remained mute.

RE: Evil finally departs.... A tribute

It would have been better if you had remained mute.

Fools like you will always

Fools like you will always show that they are fools, even great Prof Soyinka acknoledged this great man who is respected all over the world. Go to bed if u av noting reasonable to say.

@ dele Awogboeba

It grieves my heart to learn of the demise of this epitome of truth and advocacy. You did your best by voicing out your displeasure at the corrupt leadership that Nigeria has been afflicted with over the years. You have ran and finished the race according to the rules. May God grant you eternal rest. I will miss you.

As for Dele, you are simply a disgruntled fool. A brazen idiot. To show you how offensive and intellectually empty your comment is, see how it is completely offpoint from the rest of the comments on this page. What did Achebe do to you. A man decided to pen down a personal history before exiting the scene. If U r not ok with his memoir, then write your own lets read. You will rot in hell if you do not change. Visionless vagabond

Rest in Peace Great Nigerian

even you are dead, you works will ever live on you have gone to a place where there will be know more death Great Nigeria


Nothing makes me feel good than when other nationals here in the US ask me if I have read Thing Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, etc and go ahead to summarize the story of Obi Okonkwo. Chinua Achebe is a legend that made us all proud to be Nigerian. It is only illiterates that would not admire Achebe’s skills in literature. The man would have lived longer if not for that accident he had some years ago on one of Nigerian’s numerous dilapidated roads. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

Re: Evil finally departs....

@Dele Awobgeoba ... you stirred the hornet's nest and so expect missiles. Your "tribute" was insensitive and uncalled for. You committed the same evil you accused Achebe of with your "tribute". Achebe was blamed for condemning a dead man Awolowo who was no longer around to defend himself. You just did same thing to Achebe.

A tribute according to is a gift, testimonial, compliment, or the like, given as due or in acknowledgment of gratitude or esteem. What you wrote is not a tribute. The death of this great writer and novelist of Africa and not just Nigeria so fresh that it is inapporopriate now to speak ill of the dead, even by Yoruba custom.

Much as Nigerians of different tibes disagree on topical issues, we should avoid the repetition of ancestral misatkes and curses that have kept an elephant of a nation remaining as an ant. Two wrongs do not make a right. I think silence would be the wise thing for anyone who feels Achebe doesn't desrve their tribute.

Professor Chinua Achebe

The mighty has fallen but his visions, idealogy, and principles will endure.

So long Professor Achebe.


These two individuals are buffoons and idiots who are utterly lacking in any sense of appropriateness! Why should anyone throw ethinc tantrums at such a time and on such a forum as this? Are we this debased? As for the Dele guy, I have serious doubts. I am a throughbred Yoruba man and I simply can't find any meaning for that his rambling surname! Awogbeoba! What sort of meaningless name is that???!!!


We will miss u and ur legacies dat were yet to be unleashed b4 u gave up. May ur gentle soul rest in peace."Things have really fallen apart" becos ur no more. Adieu papa.


the above Dele is a

supreme IDIOT!

gerd meuer

@Dele Awogbeoba, papa Awo died of rat poison

Don't be jealous. Your super hero and baby killer called awo died of rat poison amd he was given an emergency burial. Achebe died on his sick bed which was a genuine way to die. Your leaders will flock to his burial in the east when the time comes and they will donate money and security as they did to Ojukwu burial. Keep on hating while we buy our abandoned properties back from your poverty stricken parents in Lagos. Your can drink the left over tea Abiola drank in prison if you hate your life that much. Awo is a region celebrity while Achebe was a global icon, TIME magazine said it all.

The exit of a real ICON

Adieu Proff. Fare thee well.The sore point however,is that you passed on without your dream of a decent Nigeria nation coming to reality. How sad, Very sad. Farewell,Great man !

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