'Things Fall Apart' author Chinua Achebe to give reading on campus Sept. 15

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Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe will read from his novel "Things Fall Apart" and from his poetry Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Statler Auditorium on the Cornell University campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Tickets, required for admission, will be available beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Willard Straight Hall ticket office; the Carol Tatkon Center, 3058 South Balch Hall; and the Tompkins County Public Library.

During his visit, Achebe also will meet with 10 student winners of an essay contest on his book. His masterpiece is the text for Cornell's fifth annual New Student Reading Project.

Achebe, the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College, was born in Nigeria in 1930 and raised in the large village of Ogidi, one of the first centers of Anglican missionary work in eastern Nigeria. He is a graduate of University College, Ibadan.

An early career in radio ended abruptly in 1966, when Achebe left his post as director of external broadcasting in Nigeria during the national upheaval that led to the Biafran War. He was appointed senior research fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and began lecturing widely abroad. From 1972 to 1976, and again in 1987 to 1988, Achebe was professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and also for a year at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Achebe has been cited in the Sunday Times, London, as one of the "1,000 Makers of the 20th Century" for defining a "modern African literature that was truly African" and thereby making "a major contribution to world literature." He has published several novels, short stories, essays and children's books. His volume of poetry "Christmas in Biafra," written during the Biafran War, was the joint winner of the first Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Of his novels, "Arrow of God" won the New Statesman-Jock Campbell Award and "Anthills of the Savannah" was a finalist for the 1987 Booker Prize in England.

Achebe has received numerous honors, including an Honorary Fellowship of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, as well as more that 20 honorary doctorates from universities in England, Scotland, the United States, Canada and Nigeria. He also is the recipient of the Nigerian National Merit Award.

Achebe's visit and reading are sponsored by the Office of the Provost.