Chinua Achebe (November 1930 – March 2013) was a Nigerian novelist.
Books by Chinua Achebe
“The sense that we’re changed by migration—that home is no longer the same because we are no longer the same—was very powerful in that book and that’s part of why it sticks with me.” Read more...
The Best Transnational Literature
Mohsin Hamid, Novelist
“Chike and the River is about a boy who discovers his dreams. It’s like Oliver Twist. He is used to being pampered and being kept within the house, and then he goes and discovers the river on a trip to the city. That wakes up this taste, or quest, for a deeper understanding of life. I think the encounter with that element, water, actually opens the window to him developing a kind of internal philosophy of life. That is what the book is about. It’s a coming-of-age story.” Read more...
The best books on Boyhood and Growing Up
Chigozie Obioma, Literary Scholar
“He is a brilliant narrator. He can say anything and he will captivate you and you will listen. He is a great performer. Here he is writing about the confrontation between Western culture and the traditional culture and he gives you a historical framework in these essays – but he does it in a very personal way. “ Read more...
Helon Habila, Novelist
“It almost feels like a cliché to say that this is one of my favourite books. But there is no way you can escape this book. It is such a part of African literature. It is an inescapable classic. It is a brilliant feat of storytelling, the economy of it, the brevity, the imagery, the ear he has for the traditional language. This is the story of Okonkwo, one of the chiefs in the village who rose from poverty and becomes one of the leading figures. He is a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia, a fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria, inhabited by the Igbos. He tries to stick to the tradition that he knows and is hopeless when confronted with the modern. He cannot wrap his mind around change in the form of the British and the missionaries and ultimately he is destroyed by that. Even though it is a tragic story you are still captivated by it.” Read more...
Helon Habila, Novelist
“Achebe’s first novel for almost two decades is a darkly comic and poignant take on military dictatorship that has become an essential work on the subject.” Read more...
Michael Peel, Foreign Correspondent
Interviews where books by Chinua Achebe were recommended
The best books on Nigeria, recommended by Michael Peel
The FT‘s former West Africa correspondent talks us through five books that helped him to understand Nigeria.
The best books on Being White in Africa, recommended by Justin Cartwright
The award-winning novelist thinks Africans want to know how it is that white men have got their hands on all the money. He picks five books on what it means and meant to be white in Africa
The best books on Nigeria, recommended by Helon Habila
The award-winning Nigerian writer, Helon Habila, picks his favourite books about Nigeria.
The Best Historical Fiction, recommended by Tendai Huchu
What is historical fiction? Does it have to be historically accurate? Zimbabwean novelist Tendai Huchu talks us through five important examples of historical novels, including three set in Africa.
The best books on Colonial Africa, recommended by Sam Kiley
‘Wherever you go today in the Congo, you will find monstrous warlords. But you will find far more volunteer nurses and Red Cross workers and teachers who haven’t been paid for 20 years but are still doing their job, not allowing things to fall apart.’
The best books on Boyhood and Growing Up, recommended by Chigozie Obioma
The author chooses his top five books on boyhood and growing up, major themes of his Booker-nominated debut The Fishermen.
The Best Transnational Literature, recommended by Mohsin Hamid
Beleaguered ‘citizens of nowhere’ will be pleased to know they have their own literary genre. For anyone who has ever wondered where they belong, or why, when you leave your home country, it’s never the same when you return, here are the best five books to read—including some by the greatest authors of the 20th century.