Chinua Achebe [che noo’a a cha’ba], a Nigerian, is one of Africa’s best-known fiction writers. A member of the Ibo [e’bo] tribe, Achebe grew up in the vil-lage of Ogidi, where his father taught at the local school. At the University Col-lege at Ibadan, Achebe majored in Eng-lish literature and soon decided he wanted to become a writer: „At the uni-versity I read some appalling European novels about Africa . . . and realized that our story could not be told for us by anyone else.“
In 1958 Achebe won fame with his first novel, Things Fall Apart; like much of his fiction, it explores the traumatic effects of African contact with Western ways. A decade later, after Nigeria had gained independence from England, Achebe was one of many Ibos who grew disillusioned with the new government and attempted to establish a separate nation called Biafra. As chairman of the Biafra National Guidance Committee, he traveled abroad with other writers, seek-ing support for the Biafran cause. The collapse of Biafra in 1970 prompted Achebe to retire from political life and devote most of his time to writing and teaching.