Today I join Google to celebrate Chinua Achebe's 87th birthday. Chinua is the father of modern African literature who with literature has touched many lives. Chinua Achebe was one of the greatest African writers of his generation.

On what would have been his 87th birthday if he was alive, Google is paying its respects to Chinua Achebe on its homepage. Go to to view the doddle.

Unarguably, Achebe’s influence on African literature is inestimable. He’s widely known to be the “father of modern African literature” with novels which projected Nigerian and African culture globally at a time when much of the continent was freshly free from the chains of colonialism. Chinua Achebe passed away March 2013 in the United States of America at the age of 82.

The literary icon's journey to literary greatness started with 'Things Fall Apart', which was his first book. It was released nearly 60 years ago in 1958 and regarded as one of the most widely read books in Africa. 

His best-known novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ is one of the most read books in the world. According to The Economist, it has been translated into more than 50 languages, with over 10 million copies sold.

Things Fall Apart is a story about Okonkwo, a village Igbo leader who struggles with the arrival of Christian missionaries in his village, was a universal tale about the impact of colonial rule in Africa which most African nationalities can relate with. It arguably helped set the tone for African literature and writers taking charge of their own narrative using distinct African characters, written for Africa by Africans and told the African way.

Achebe has been a pioneer in the fight to counter lazy racist stereotypes that have been used to portray Africa in literature and journalism globally, especially by the Western world. Joseph Conrad, the author of 'Heart of Darkness', a controversial account of a journey on Congo River first published in 1899, has borne the raw brunt of Achebe’s intolerance of demeaning African tropes. Achebe has called Conrad a “bloody racist” and described his book as “totally deplorable.”

The Nigerian government was not left out either. The government was often also a target of Achebe’s criticism. Twice, in 2004 and in 2011, he rejected the government’s offer to name him Commander of the Federal Republic—one of the nations’s highest national honors. Achebe cited unchecked corruption in government as his reason for turning down the awards.

Achebe never shied away from politics, matching his written words with action. Decades ago, during the Biafra war, Achebe sided with Biafra and worked with the breakaway government to push for the creation of a new country. As communications head for Biafra, Achebe led efforts to secure aid and raise awareness about the plight of his people around the world.

His willingness to speak up on politics through his novels, his essays and speeches were at times controversial but, speaking to American author James Baldwin back in 1980, Achebe explained why politics feature in his art:

Those who tell you “Do not put too much politics in your art” are not being honest. If you look very carefully you will see that they are the same people who are quite happy with the situation as it is. And what they are saying is not don’t introduce politics. What they are saying is don’t upset the system. They are just as political as any of us. It’s only that they are on the other side.

Achebe, who is considered as the father of modern African literature, was born on November 15, 1930, in Ogidi in Eastern Nigeria.

His other novels include No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God and A Man of the People. He is also a poet and has anthologies to his credit. He also published collections of short stories, children books and influential essays.

Achebe won The Man Booker International Prize in 2007 and the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for his collection, Christmas in Biafra

Today, I join African writers, and global literature enthusiats to celebrate Chinua Achebe. May his legacies live on, not just on book shelves and dusty coated books, but in the heart of sane minds in a quest for a better Africa. 

RIP Chinua.