The famed author of “Things Fall Apart” joins an US Ivy League university to lead a new African Colloquium.
The acclaimed Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, author of the 1958 classic “Things Fall Apart,” will join the Brown University faculty as the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and a professor of Africana studies, the school announced.
Achebe, 78, will serve in Brown’s Department of Africana Studies. “We are honored and thrilled to welcome Professor Achebe to Africana studies and to the Brown community,” Tricia Rose, the department’s chair, said in a statement. “He is a towering figure in African literature and post-colonial thought. We will benefit enormously from his ongoing insights into the necessity and complexity of global, cross-racial translations and exchanges.”
Brown also plans to create a new Chinua Achebe Colloquium on Africa, which Achebe will oversee, an initiative to increase understanding of Africa. The university said the colloquium will get going this fall, and will be kicked off with “a major lecture” by Achebe.
“Things Fall Apart” is perhaps the best-known work of African fiction. The book tells the story of Nigeria’s Igbo tribe in the early years of British colonialism. It has been translated into dozens of languages and has sold more than 12 million copies in English.
Among other honors, Achebe received the Man Booker International Prize for outstanding fiction in 2007. Brown awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1998.
Achebe comes to Brown after 19 years as a professor at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. The author said he will continue to guide projects there.