The late Nigerian author Chinua Achebe was today, November 16, honoured in a Google Doodle, underscoring his status as a towering figure of 20th century literature.
Surrounded by symbols, donning his signature cap and spectacles, Achebe, who is widely considered as Africa’s greatest storyteller, can be pictured in front of a green banner decorated with icons of his most famous literary works in Thursday’s Google Doodle.
The illustration honors the legacy of the renowned Nigerian writer as the tech giant is celebrating the storyteller many consider to be father of modern African literature on what would be his 87th birthday.
The novelist was born on November 16, 1930. His first novel Things Fall Apart (1958), often considered his best, is one of the most widely read books in modern African literature.
His journey into the world of African literature began from the University of Ibadan where he studied English literature instead of medicine that was earlier intended.
Achebe rose to international prominence when he published Things Fall Apart at 28 years-old. Based on his own family heritage and upbringing, the story recounts the demise of an Ibo man in southeastern Nigeria under the oppression of 19th century British colonial rule.
The book is now a classic and required reading for students, selling more than 20 million copies and translated into 57 different languages.
Achebe went on to write No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah(1987).
Acknowledged as the father of modern African literature, Chinua was awarded 30 honorary degrees from universities around the world.
Achebe also won many literary awards, from the inaugural Nigerian National Merit Award in 1979 to the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction in 2007.
He won The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in 2010. The annual prize is given to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life”.
South Africa’s anti-apartheid revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela called him a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down”.
The current president of South Africa Jacob Zuma has described him as a “colossus of African writing”.
Literary critics have compared Achebe’s eminence worldwide to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison and a handful of other writers.