The father of the African novel, Achebe made his literary debut in 1958 with the classic Things Fall Apart, which has been translated into 50 languages. It is hard to resist his beguiling style, which infuses standard English with Igbo proverbs and speech patterns. As the founding editor of the African Writers Series by the U.K. publishing house Heinemann, he was instrumental in introducing the world to a wealth of new writing from Africa. Also an essayist, writer of short stories, and university professor, he continues to inspire and teach, despite having been paralyzed in a car accident in 1990. In 2004 he declined to accept Nigeria's second-highest honor in protest at the state of affairs in his country.
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