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  • Now it is the Financial Times' turn to look at Chinua Achebe's The Education of a British-Protected Child:

    With the publication of The Education of a British-Protected Child, Chinua Achebe has now written as many collections of essays as novels. Yet, the Nigerian's reputation as Africa's most notable writer still rests on his fiction. His first novel, Things Fall Apart, marked its 50th anniversary in 2008 and has become a worldwide classic. Achebe's fictional output stretches from Africa's besiegement by imperial Europe to its sometimes brave, but mostly dismal, effort to find its footing.

    To many fans, woebegone that Achebe has not written a novel since Anthills of the Savannah in 1987, it may sound heretical to claim his essays are as worthy as their fictional siblings. Yet Achebe's standing as a writer cannot be grasped until we identify the symbiosis between these two spheres of his work: his novels' themes shape his essays and are shaped in return.

    This new collection of 16 essays features the autobiographical, including the title essay and "Traveling White", a first-hand account of dramatic incidents during a visit in 1960 to racially-segregated Northern Rhodesia. The book also contains odes to his father and a retinue of political or intellectual figures (Nnamdi Azikiwe, independent Nigeria's first president, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, and Stanley Diamond, the American anthropologist and champion of Biafra); and meditations on literature, culture and Africa's vexed relationship with Europe (more...)

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