Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author, activist, and teacher, has died at 82 following a brief illness.
Achebe graduated from the University College of Ibadan, in 1953 and afterward worked as a Nigerian radio broadcaster. In his twenties, he began work on what would become the defining work of his career — and a continent: Things Fall Apart, published in 1958.
It’s almost impossible to overstate the effect of the book, which as become, in the more than 50 years since publication, the archetype for African fiction and a fountainhead for postcolonial literature. African scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah has said, “It would be impossible to say how Things Fall Apart influenced African writing. It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers or Pushkin influenced Russians.”