More personally revealing than anything Achebe has written, Home and Exile–the great Nigerian novelist’s first book in more than ten years–is a major statement on the importance of stories as real sources of power, especially for those whose stories have traditionally been told by outsiders.
In three elegant essays, Achebe seeks to rescue African culture from narratives written about it by Europeans. Looking through the prism of his experiences as a student in English schools in Nigeria, he provides devastating examples of European cultural imperialism. He examines the impact that his novel Things Fall Apart had on efforts to reclaim Africa’s story. And he argues for the importance of writing and living the African experience because, he believes, Africa needs stories told by Africans.
“A master narrative.”–The New York Times Book Review
“Spare and moving…. The many admirers of Achebe’s fiction will find here a rare opportunity to glimpse a bit of the man behind the monumental novels.”–Chicago Tribune
WINNER 2007 - 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.