Princeton University to celebrate Chinua Achebe’s legacy and relevance

Princeton University’s Africa World Initiative and Programme in African Studies are organising a two-day event to honour the life and work of Chinua Achebe, one of the most influential African writers of the 20th century. 

The event, which will take place on September 29th and 30th, 2023, will feature a symposium and a memorial celebration.

The symposium will mark the 40th anniversary of the publication of Achebe’s The Trouble with Nigeria, a scathing critique of the political and social problems of his country. The symposium will bring together 20 scholars from different disciplines and regions to discuss new directions in Achebe studies, the politics of canonicity, and African literatures in the age of historical reckonings. The symposium will also include a roundtable discussion on leadership and statecraft in Nigeria and Africa.

Some of the prominent scholars who will participate in the symposium are Simon Gikandi, Sarah Duff, Maik Nwosu, Obi Nwakanma, and Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang. The symposium is advised by a committee of experts, including Christopher Okonkwo, Ato Quayson, Terri Ochiagha, and Grace Musila.

The memorial celebration will be graced by His Royal Majesty, Igwe Alex Onyido, the Monarch of Ogidi Kingdom in Nigeria, where Achebe was born. The celebration will feature tributes by renowned academics and artists, such as Toyin Falola, Richard Joseph, Sonia Sanchez, and Obiora Udechukwu. The celebration will also showcase readings by Patrice Nganang and Chika Unigwe, as well as cultural performances by Dorobucci Dance Company, Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa, and Eme & Heteru Afro-roots Band.

The event is open to the public and aims to celebrate Achebe’s legacy and relevance in the contemporary world. 

Achebe, who passed away in 2013, was the author of acclaimed novels such as Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People, and Anthills of the Savannah. He was also a professor of African studies at Princeton University from 2002 to 2009.

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