Published in 1958, “Things Fall Apart” was the first major work of African anti-colonialist literature. Written when Achebe was only 28 years old, the book focuses on the cultural clash that occurred when British and Christian colonial powers met traditional Igbo culture in what later came to be Nigeria. More than 10 million copies of the book have been sold, and it has been translated into 45 languages. Students around the world still read the story of Okonkwo and his family.
Achebe wrote four more novels after his debut work: “No Longer at Ease” (1960), “Arrow of God” (1964), “A Man of the People” (1966) and “Anthills of the Savannah” (1987). He was also the author of many short stories and poems. While active in Nigerian politics in the years following that country’s independence from Great Britain, Achebe worked mainly as a professor at a number of universities in his later years.
Born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe in Ogidi, Nigeria on Nov. 16, 1930, the author was moved to writing during his English literature studies at university. The common portrayal of Africans as ignorant as savages was reversed in his work. Achebe married Christiana Okoli in 1961 and the couple had four children.