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Renowned Nigerian author Chinua Achebe dies

SEMINAL ROLE: Chinua Achebe

RENOWNED NIGERIAN author and professor Chinua Achebe died at a hospital in Boston last night (March 21), it has been reported.

The 82-year-old literary icon, whose works include Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God, is said to have suffered from an undisclosed ailment according to website Newsday.

A source close to the family said the professor, who taught Africana Studies at Brown University in the United States, had been ill for a while and had recently hospitalised. No further details were provided.

Calls made to Brown University, where he worked until he was taken ill, are yet to be returned report the site.

The university previously described him as "having played a seminal role in the founding and development of African literature.”

“Achebe’s global significance lies not only in his talent and recognition as a writer, but also as a critical thinker and essayist who has written extensively on questions of the role of culture in Africa and the social and political significance of aesthetics and analysis of the postcolonial state in Africa.”

He attended Government College Umuahia for his secondary school education. He was a pioneer student of the University College, now University of Ibadan in 1948. He was first admitted to study medicine but changed to English, history and theology after his first year.

While studying at Ibadan, Mr. Achebe began to become critical of European literature about Africa. He eventually wrote his final papers in the University in 1953 and emerged with a second-class degree.

Prof Achebe taught for a while after graduation before joining the Nigeria Broadcasting Service in 1954 in Lagos.

Things Fall Apart, published in 1958 was considered the most widely read book in modern African Literature. The book sold over 12 million copies and has been translated to over 50 languages worldwide.

He is survived by his wife, Christie, and four children

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