The Root and The Guardian released the joint statement made by writer and Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka and poet and playwright J.P. Clark regarding the death of author Chinua Achebe, their “‘brother’ who was part of the ‘pioneer quartet’ of contemporary Nigerian literature.” The world grieves the loss of so important a writer.
“What I can say is that it was clear to many of us that an indigenous African literary renaissance was overdue,” [Chinua Achebe] wrote. “A major objective was to challenge stereotypes, myths, and the image of ourselves and our continent, and to recast them through stories — prose, poetry, essays, and books for our children. That was my overall goal.”
His novel Things Fall Apart became “a universally acknowledged starting point for postcolonial, indigenous African fiction, the prophetic union of British letters and African oral culture” (msn).
In my first go at college I enrolled in an African Literature course (I was so thrilled and excited at the selection of literature courses offered!) Things Fall Apart was one of the first novels I read by an African author. Others included So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ and Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi. I still carry these books with me from all those years ago.
Soyinka and Clark “…confidently assert that Chinua lives. His works provide their enduring testimony to the domination of the human spirit over the forces of repression, bigotry, and retrogression.” They also stated the importance that the next generation of writers keep creating, keep writing to ensure “that there is no break in the continuum of the literary vocation.”
Art is necessary. Creation is necessary. We must keep writing. We must support writers from the world over to keep writing, to continue telling their stories. We must listen and hear. This is how we overcome.
I would like to remind everyone that Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History has nine more days of Kickstarter funding to go. They’ve already reached a second stretch goal. As an “anthology of speculative historical fiction revealing the voices of silenced dreamers” it will be a part of “a long and honorable legacy of literary resistance to erasure”.