Notes about chinua achebe

March 22, 2013 permalink

Chinua Achebe on Aspiring Writers and Work

I don’t get the deluge of manuscripts that I would be getting in Nigeria. But some do manage to find me. This is something I understand, because a budding writer wants to be encouraged. But I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it. Just think of the work you’ve set yourself to do, and do it as well as you can. Once you have really done all you can, then you can show it to people.

March 22, 2013 permalink

Chinua Achebe on History

That was the way I was introduced to the danger of not having your own stories. There is that great proverb—that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. That did not come to me until much later. Once I realized that, I had to be a writer. I had to be that historian. It’s not one man’s job. It’s not one person’s job. But it is something we have to do, so that the story of the hunt will also reflect the agony, the travail—the bravery, even, of the lions.

Chinua Achebe, RIP. Quote from a 1994 interview with him in the Paris Review. Things Fall Apart was one of the novels we read in middle school that really changed my understanding of the workings of the world, and remains one of the books that I hope to always have on my bookshelf. (hat tip to @hawkt)