If you’ve logged onto Google today, November 16th, you may have noticed their most recent Google Doodle. It’s of Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian novelist known as “the father of modern African literature.” He died in 2013, and today would have been his 87th birthday.
Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart, was published in 1958 and became hugely successful.
According to TheNewYorker.com, Things Fall Apart has been translated into 50 languages and sold more than ten million copies. The story is set in the 19th century and portrays the clash of cultures between Western colonizers and traditional African societies. The Amazon description notes that the main character is a “wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior” (Achebe himself was from an Igbo family).
Achebe wrote four other novels over the course of his career, along with numerous short stories, collections of poetry, and essays. In the 1960s and 1970s, he wrote several children’s books. Most of his stories represent African culture and the impact of colonialism, and include characters inspired by his upbringing in Ogidi, Nigeria.
We — along with Google and the rest of the world — are celebrating Achebe’s legacy today.
If you’d like to read Achebe’s work, it’s widely available on Amazon (and don’t forget to check your local library). Delving into his cannon may be the perfect way to kick off some holiday reading.