Writings of the general word's body

Monday, June 25, 2007

Achebe, the 'Man International Booker'

"Chinua Achebe... is the dignified elder statesman of African letters. Long considered a favourite for the Nobel Prize in Literature, the revered Nigerian author is snubbed year after year... This despite being the most translated African writer in the world, as well as the author of Things Fall Apart (1958), widely considered to be one of the finest novels of the 20th cnetury... The rap on Achebe, a self-described "cultural nationalist," is that his groundbreaking essay "An Image of Africa," which elegantly slams Joseph Conrad's novel Heart of Darkness for dehumanizing Africans and Africa... has made him no friends on the Nobel committee." - Vanity Fair Africa issue.

No sooner had I read the above, and news broke of the award of the 2007 Man International Booker to Achebe, who will not now attend the award ceremony due to ill health. The £60,000 award, coming only a week after Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Orange prize, sent the Nigerian literary community in euphoria - and has been hailed as a long overdue "vindication" by critics.

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