I don’t remember my professor’s name for the African Literature class I took at UConn but, I do remember reading “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe my sophomore year. The book haunted me semester after semester. I’d think back to our discussions where a classroom reflecting different backgrounds and genders were using their own experiences to peel back layer by layer Achebe’s renowned text. He showed us, through language and literature, what books do to us when we let them. He showed us that we aren’t as different as we have been raised to think. He showed us that continents may be oceans away from one another but through literature we all have a bridge to another world that looks and feels so much like our own. He showed us that no word goes unnoticed when it’s spoken in truth.
I’m saddened by the news I read today, that our brother Chinua Achebe has passed away. He, with the touch of his pen, has been able to reach throngs of people and for that contribution I thank him. Behind him is a legacy of literature that still speaks to us all. If you haven’t read a book by Mr. Chinua Achebe there’s still time! If you have read a book by him what was your favorite and why??
“To me, being an intellectual doesn’t mean knowing about intellectual issues; it means taking pleasure in them.” ― Chinua Achebe
“My weapon is literature.” ― Chinua Achebe
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