The poet, critic and novelist Chinua Achebe came to prominence in 1958 with Things Fall Apart. By 1987 and Anthills of the Savannah, he was a venerated figure.

The Nigerian Achebe drew on the Igbo traditions he had grown up with to take his fiction beyond the colonial concerns of most literature dealing with Africa. He became the continent’s most significant literary figure and Things Fall Apart remains the most studied African novel.

Anthills of the Savannah fused modernity with myth and his family’s oral story-telling culture and one review called it ’a powerful antidote to the cynical commentators from “overseas” who see nothing ever new out of Africa’. Nelson Mandela cited reading Achebe while in prison as an inspiration. 

Anthills of the Savannah was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1987 and Achebe won the Man Booker International Prize 2007 for his entire body of work.

Chinua Achebe

If you don't like someone's story, write your own.

— Chinua Achebe

When I started writing all those years ago, I wasn’t even aware there were such rewards. All I had in mind was to write a story, in the way that fiction can be true. I had to be honest.

— Chinua Achebe on winning The 2007 Man Booker International Prize

Video highlights

All nominated books

Anthills of the Savannah