Dartmouth Professor Honors the Father of African Literature

On March 26, 2013 by Grad Forum

Ayo Coly has taught Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in all of her courses since she began as an associate professor of African and African American Studies at Dartmouth six years ago, and she has found that nearly every one of her students read the book in high school.

That is as clear a picture as she can give of the significance of the Nigerian author who came to be known as the father of African literature, and who had numerous ties to Dartmouth. Achebe died Thursday, March 21, 2013, in Boston. He was 82.

Although there is a rich literary history from Africa in both African and European languages, “we can say Achebe is the inventor of African literature because he made it known beyond the borders of Nigeria and beyond Africa,” Coly says. “I would like to acknowledge the way Chinua Achebe appropriated and transformed the European genre of the novel and conformed it to convey his own culture, his own agenda, as a Nigerian, as an African.”

Achebe was in residence at Dartmouth in 1990 as a Montgomery Fellow. In 1972, under President John Kemeny, Dartmouth awarded Achebe the first of his many honorary degrees.

For the full article go to Dartmouth Now.

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