Using the conflict between city and tribal villages, the ravages of the great African drought and Third World politics as a compelling backdrop, Achebe weaves a potent drama of modern Africa. This novel describes power politics in an imaginary West African country, Kangan, 'where a military coup has brought to prominence a Sandhurst-trained officer ill-prepared for political leadership. Before long 'His Excellency' transforms his initial insecurity into paranoid despotism, suspecting even well-meaning allies of disloyalty. This becomes the fate of his two boyhood friends, Chris Oriko, Commissioner for Information, and Ikem Osodi, poet and editor of a national newspaper, who in different ways both refuse to play safe by compromising.' This novel by the award-winning Nigerian author was named one of the 'most notable' books of 1988 by the New York Times Book Review.
FINALIST 1987 - Man Booker International Prize
Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. He was raised in the large villagwe of Ogidi, one of the first centers of Anglican missionary work in Eastern Nigeria, and is a graduate of University College, Ibadan.
His early career in radio ended abrubtly in 1966, when he left his post as Director of External Broadcasting in Nigeria during the national upheaval that led to the Biafran War. He was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and began lecturing widely abroad.
From 1972 to 1976, and again from 1987 to 1988, Mr. Achebe was Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and also for one year at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.
Cited in the London Sunday Times as one of the “1,000 Makers of the Twentieth Century” for defining “a modern African literature that was truly African” and thereby making “a major contribution to world literature,” Chinua Achebe has published novels, short stories, essays and children’s books. His volume of poetry, Christmas in Biafra, written during the Biafran War, was the joint winner of the first Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Of his novels, Arrows of God won the New Statesman-Jock Campbell Award, and Anthills of the Savannah was a finalist for the 1987 Booker Prize.
Mr. Achebe has received numerous honors from around the world, including the Honorary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as more than thirty honorary doctorates from universities in England, Scotland, the United States, Canada, Nigeria, and South Africa. He is also the recipient of Nigeria’s highest honor for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian Order of Merit.
Mr. Achebe lives with his wife in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where they teach at Bard College.