Google has honoured one of Africa’s most popular novelist, poet, professor, and critic, Chinua Achebe, who died in March of 2013, on what would have 87th birthday on this day, November 16, 2017.
Today’s Google doodle displays Achebe’s photographs with other elements symbolising of African arts.
The literary icon, whose first and most popular novel, Things Fall Apart (1958) was one of the most widely read books in modern African literature, was born on November 16, 1970. The book has since been translated into fifty languages and has sold over 10 million copies.
Achebe who spent his early life in Ogidi, Anambra State in Nigeria, and attended Government College Umuahia, from where he won a scholarship to study medicine at University College (now the University of Ibadan), but switched to English literature.
As an undergraduate, Achebe began writing stories on themes around world religions and traditional African cultures. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and soon gained world acclaim for his novel, Things Fall Apart. His later novels including No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987), were also celebrated.
Achebe’s novels focus on the traditions of the Igbo society, the influence of Christianity, and the clash of Western and traditional African values during and after the colonial era.
His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory.
On March 22, 1990, Achebe was involved in a car accident that left him confined to the wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Among several awards, Achebe won the Man Booker International Prize in 2007.
In October 2012, barely 6 months before died in the United States, Achebe’s publishers, Penguin Books, released what became his last published book There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra.
Achebe, who twice – in 2004 and 2011 – rejected Nigerian national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) citing unfettered corruption in government, supported the establishment of the separatist republic of Biafra.
While it lasted, Achebe served as Biafra’s communications chief and its ambassador.