by Joyce Ashuntantang
On February 15 2008, we entered Chinua Achebe’s residence in Annandale, New York, to interview him on the occasion of the Golden jubilee of his masterpiece Things Fall Apart. Okey Ndibe, author of Arrows of Rain, Oyiza Adaba of Africa-Related.com, Sowore Omoyele of Saharareporters.com and I, had come variously to chat with the author of Things Fall Apart as he commemorated the birth of that seminal novel but I had also come to follow up on a developing story concerning the manuscript of Things Fall Apart which Achebe told me took him two years to write. However I took the opportunity to ask him other questions as well. Here with two excerpts from that interview.
In the excerpt below Chinua Achebe offers his wisdom to Anglophone Cameroon writers who seem to be grappling with the difficulty of creating an effective writing tradition wedged between populous Nigeria and Francophone Cameroon, and with good-humor discusses the 1961 plebiscite when Southern Cameroon opted to join the Republic of Cameroon intead of Nigeria despite their shared colonial heritage.
Chinua Achebe talks about the character of Okonkwo, and why his story in Things Fall Apart continues to resonate with readers even after 50 years.