By Eartha Watts Hicks
“A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.”— Chinua Achebe
Google Chinua Achebe today, and what will you see? How about a vibrant cartoon image in the likeness of Nigerian born author/educator/historian?
Born November 16, 1930, Chinua Achebe is credited as the father of modern African literature. In honor of his legacy and contributions to African and African American literature, Google has commissioned an illustration to serve as their featured logo of the day.
A titled Igbo chieftain, Chinua Achebe’s debut novel addresses the tenets of Igbo culture when threatened by Western ideology and control. Things Fall Apart was released in 1958 to worldwide acclaim, and has since become required reading and a teaching tool for African Studies courses, workshops and advance writing programs around the world.
In Nigeria in 1990, a car accident left Achebe paralyzed from the waist down. He relocated to the United States later that year and had since served as professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College and professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. Achebe was the recipient of the Library Associates St. Louis Literary Award in 1999 and the esteemed Man Booker International Prize in 2007. While many believed it an injustice Achebe was never awarded the Nobel prize, in 2010, he was recognized with The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.”
Throughout the course of his life, Achebe published several acclaimed works. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a mentee of Achebe, is also widely noted for her contribution to literature, Half of a Yellow Sun. Chinua Achebe passed away in 2013. Today, November 16, 2017, would have marked Achebe’s 87th birthday.
For more information or to see the development stages of the Google caption from doodle to illustration, visit https://www.google.com/doodles/chinua-achebes-87th-birthday.
Eartha Watts Hicks is editor-in-chief of Harlem World Magazine, member of The Harlem Writers Guild and author/publisher of Love Changes. www.earthatone.com. Connect @Earthatone.