The Life and Times of Chinua Achebe introduces readers to the life, literary works, and times of arguably the most widely-read African novelist of recent times, an icon, both in continental Africa and abroad.
The book weaves together the story of Chinua Achebe, a young Igboman whose novel Things Fall Apart opened the eyes of the world to a more realistic image of Africa that was warped by generations of European travelers, colonists, and writers. Whilst continuing to write further influential novels and essays, Achebe also taught other African writers to use their skills to help their national leaders to fight for their freedoms in the post-colonial era, as internal warfare compounded the damage caused by European powers during the colonial era. In this book Kalu Ogbaa, an esteemed expert on Achebe and his works, draws on extensive research and personal interviews with the great man and his colleagues and friends, to tell the story of Achebe and his work.
This intimate and powerful new biography will be essential reading for students and scholars of Chinua Achebe, and to anyone with an interest in the literature and post-colonial politics of Africa.
Table of Contents
Introduction Timeline: Key Dates in the Life and Times of Chinua Achebe 1. The Life and Education of Chinua Achebe 2. Chinua Achebe’s Education as Template 3. The Four Phases of Chinua Achebe’s Writing Career 4. Leave of Absence Abroad Interrupted for Patriotic Duties at Home 5. My Interviews with Chinua Achebe 6. The Eagle on Iroko Critically Analyzes the Problem with Nigeria Of Governance, Revolutions, and Victims: Chinua Achebe and Literary Activism in Anthills of the Savannah 8. Year 1990 and After: A New Life and Phase IV of Achebe’s Writing Career 9. My Review of Chinua Achebe’s There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra 10. Other Critics’ Reviews of There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra 11. Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God: A Foretaste of Igbo Intra-ethnic Democracy in the Present Day Nigerian Geopolitical System 12. Remembering Achebe the Man, His Literary Mission, and His Achievements
Kalu Ogbaa is Professor of English and Faculty Scholar Award winner at Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, where he teaches English, Africana Literary and Cultural Studies, as well as Commonwealth Literatures. He obtained his B.A. (Hons) degree in English from The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, MAin Black Studiesfrom The Ohio State University, and PhD in English from The University of Texas at Austin.
"Dr. Kalu Ogbaa's book will be an eye-opener even for established scholars who may not have had the author's long history of association with the great Achebe … This new book is a tour de force on the life, times and works of Chinua Achebe … Dr. Ogbaa has delivered a work that is rich in what C.W. Mills termed The Sociological Imagination by tying the biography of the famous author and his influential works to the major public issues of his troubled times. Mills predicted that the obsession with abstract grand theory and disjointed empiricism by sociologists was likely to result in the best sociologists being jow·nalists … Having interviewed Achebe extensively when he was alive, Dr. Ogbaa has the benefit of understanding Achebe's leadership philosophy, personality and moral character better than those who only knew him from his literary and political works or from secondary interpretations that may be flawed. I recommend this book without spoilers to all levels of readers because it is written in accessible language and promises to reveal many little-known details of the times, life and works of Chinua Achebe. Ask your libraries to order copies if you cannot afford a copy and invite Dr. Ogbaa to bring his book tour by Zoom or in person to your campus or community to engage your students, colleagues, and community members with his inspiring work." – Biko Agozino, Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.
"This is a very intimate biography of Nigeria's most famous novelist. Kalu Ogbaa knows Chinua Achebe well partly because they share a common ethnic heritage, both being lgbos whose lives were shaped by similar cultural and historical circumstances. But that is not the most important link between them. Ogbaa reveals that he became so fascinated with Achebe that he chose to study the full range of his career intensely, becoming in the process a leading authority on his literary achievements and a reliable source of Information on his other activities. His versatile expertise is displayed to advantage in this this biography, which deals sensitively not only with his novels and other literary works but also with much of his nonfiction, including such thought-provoking books as The Trouble with Nigeria, Hopes and Impediments, and There was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra. And through it all, we learn a great deal about circumstances in Nigeria that prompted Achebe to write the way he did on so many topical national matters." – Bernth Lindfors, Professor Emeritus of English and African Literatures, University of Texas at Austin