Professor Chinua Achebe's Bio-Data

Born on November 16, 1930, Achebe began his journey to greatness in 1936 when he attended St. Philips Central School to receive his primary education. From 1944 to 1947, he attended Government College Umuahia. Thereafter, precisely in 1948, Achebe entered University College, Ibadan, which was offspring of the University of London. He was just 18 years old. While studying English, history and theology there, the young Achebe, no longer the innocent reader of Treasure Island, Tom Brown’s School Days, The Prisoner of Zenda and David Copperfield at Government College Umuahia, became critical of racial stereotypes in European literature about Africa including Joyce Cary’s Mister Johnson. Thus, he decided that it was time Africans told their own stories. The results of this decision were the production of several short stories by him, among which is the classic, “Marriage is a Private Affair” while he was still a student! But a miraculous feat which would change the complexion of literature from Africa and the entire world as well as reclaim the dignity of the African that was lost in European literature was still on the way, very soon to be performed by young Achebe, who was, from 1951 to 1952, editor of the campus magazine, University Herald.

After graduation from the University with a degree in 1953, Achebe taught for a short spell as a secondary school teacher in his village in 1954 while in search of a substantial job. The humility of doing this as a ‘graduate’ in those days is noteworthy. In fact, while the super-intelligence of Chinua Achebe is never in doubt here, I like to think that that virtue may have played a part in getting him a job at Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in Lagos where he rose rapidly to the position of director of external broadcasting. However, he did not stop writing. In fact, at this time he was hard at work on his first novel. Then, in 1958, at just the age of 28, Chinua Achebe performed the miracle of publishing Things Fall Apart, a missionary work that restored full humanity to Africans.



Dartmouth College, U.S.A. 1972, D.Litt.
Southampton University, England, 1974, D.Litt.
Stirling University, Scotland, 1975, D.Litt.
Prince Edward Island University, Canada, 1976, LL.D
The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, U.S.A.,1979, D.H.L
The University of Ife, Nigeria, 1979, D.Litt.
The University of Kent, England, 1981, D.Litt.
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria, 1981, D.Litt.
Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, Canada, 1984, D.Litt.
University of Guelph, Canada, 1984, D.Litt.
Franklin Pierce College, New Hampshire, U.S.A, 1985D.Litt
Lagos State University, Nigeria, 1988, D.Litt.
Westfield College, Westfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A 1989, D.H.L
The Open University, Great Britain, 1989, D.Litt.
University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 1989, D.Litt.
Georgetown University, U.S.A, 1990. LL.D
University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, 1991, LL.D
Skidmore College, U.S.A , 1991 D.Litt.
The New School for Social Research U.S.A , 1991, D.H.L
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, U.S.A, 1991, D.H.L
Marymount Manhattan College, U.S.A, 1991, D.H.L
City College, City University of NewYork, U.S.A 1992, D.Litt.
Westfield State University, Massachusetts, 1992, D.Litt.
Colgate University, U.S.A, 1993, D.H.L
Fitchburg State College, Massachusetts, U.S.A 1994D.Litt
State University of New York, Binghamton, U.S.A, 1996, D.Litt.
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine, U.S.A, 1996, D.Litt.
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A, 1997, D.Litt.
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A, 1997, D.Litt.
Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, U.S.A., 1997, D.Litt.
Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio, U.S.A., 1999, D.Litt.
Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A., 1999, D.Litt.
University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, 2000, D.Litt.
Haverford College, Pennsylvania, 2001, D.Litt.
Cape Town University, South Africa, 2002, D.Litt.
Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey, 2002, D.H.L
University of Massachusetts, Boston, 2006, D.Litt.
University of Toronto, Canada, 2006, D.Litt.
University of Sokoto, Nigeria, 2007, D.Litt.
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, 2009, D.Litt.
Lesley University, Massachusetts, 2010,D.Litt
Ebonyi State University, Abakiliki, Nigeria D.Litt. April, 2012.


Margaret Wrong Memorial Prize, 1959
Nigeria National Trophy, 1960
Rockefeller Fellowship, 1960
Langston Hughes Medallion, 1962
UNESCO Fellowship, 1963
Jock Campbell-New Stateman Award, 1965
Commonwealth Poetry Prize, 1973
Honorary Member, Modern Language Association, 1974
Neil Gunn Fellow of the Scottish Arts Council, 1975
Lotus Award for Afro-Asian Writers, 1975
Hon. Fellow, Modern Language Association of America, 1975
Nigeria National Merit Award, 1979
Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, London, 1981
Founding President, Association of Nigerian Authors, 1981
Member, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1982
Member, Royal Society of Literature, 1983
Commonwealth Foundation Senior Visiting Practitioner, 1983
Hon. Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1983
Commonwealth Foundation Award, 1984
Callaloo Award, 1989
CHINUA ACHEBE DAY May 25, 1989, proclaimed by the President of the Borough of Manhattan, New York City.
Member, 7-man International Jury appointed by the Indian Government to award the annual Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, 1989-92
Member, Academy of Sciences, USSR, 1990
Major Street in University Town Nsukka renamed CHINUA ACHEBE Road In 1990
Achebe`s Sixtieth year marked with an International Symposium by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, February 12-14 1990.
Visiting Fellow and Ashby Lecturer, Clare Hall, Cambridge University, 1993
International Nonino Prize, 1994
Order of Kilmanjaro, awarded by African Overseas Union, Houston, Texas, 1996
Champion Medal, 1996
Honorary Citizenship of The City of Austin, Texas, 1997
World Bank Presidential Fellows Lecturer, 1997
Honorary Vice President, Royal African Society, London, 1998
CHINUA ACHEBE DAY, February 14, 1998, proclaimed by the Mayor of the City ofWashington, D.C.
McMillian Lecturer, Harvard University, 1998
Founding Fellow, Nigeria Academy of Letters, 1999
Odenigbo Lecturer, Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Nigeria, 1999
National Creativity Award(NCA), Nigeria, 1999
Avenue leading to State House in Anambra State Capital, Awka, named CHINUA ACHEBE avenue in 1999.
German Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. (Friedenspreisdes DeutschenBuchhandels) 2002
Phyllis Wheatley Award, Harlem Book Fair, 2004.
Associate Member, Academy Of American Poets, 2004.
“The New African,” Selected Chinua Achebe as one of the Greatest Africans.
Major Road connecting Ogidito Onitsha in Anambra renamed CHINUA ACHEBE Rd in 2008.
Man Booker International Prize, 2007.
The National Arts Club, Medal of Honor for Literature, 2007
Lifetime Achievement Award, The Schonberg, New York.
Inducted into the Nigerian Hall of Fame, 2010
Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, 2010


1. Things Fall Apart, 1958

2. No Longer At Ease, 1960

3. Arrow of God, 1964

4. The Sacrificial Egg and Other Stories, 1962

5. A Man of the People, 1966

6. Chike and the River, 1966

7. How the Leopard Got Its Claws(with John Iroaganachi), 1972

8. Girls At War, 1973

9. Beware, Soul Brother, and Other Poems 1973

10. Christmas in Biafra, and Other Poems, 1973

11. The Flute, 1975

12. Morning Yet on Creation Day: Essays, 1975

13. The Drum,1978

14. Don’t Let Him Die: An Anthology of Memorial Poems for Christopher Okigbo(editor with Dubem Okafor), 1978

15. Aka Weta: An Anthology of Igbo Poetry(Co-editor), 1982

16. African Short Stories: Twenty Stories from Across the Continent, 1984

17. The Trouble with Nigeria, 1984

18. Anthills of the Savannah, 1988

19. Hopes and Impediments: Selected Essays, 1988

20. Another Africa (with Robert Lyons), 1988

21. The Heinemann Book of Contemporary African Short Stories (with C,L Innes),1992

22. Home and Exile, 2000

23. Collected Poems, 2004

24. The Education of a British-Protected Child, 2009

25. There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, 2012

Significance & Impact

-Chinua Achebe was the founding editor of African Writers Series for ten (10) years.
-His novel, Things Fall Apart, has been translated into over fifty languages in the world.
Things Fall Apart has sold well over twelve million copies, and it is still selling.
-For his signature role in editing the African Writers Series for a decade, and for being the most paraphrased African writer, Chinua Achebe is dubbed the father of modern African literature.
-Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart was instrumental to inspiring the whole of the African continent to take to writing creative imaginative works, a feat which has not been achieved by any other writer elsewhere in the world.
-Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is arguably one of the creative imaginative works around the world that offers the greatest reading pleasure.
-Other fictional works of Chinua Achebe are also popular and widely read.

Pictures of the Icon & Family

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