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 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.