Chinua Achebe Quotes: Best Quotes & Most-Famous Sayings


Chinua Achebe is featured as today’s Google Doodle, as they pay homage to this Nigerian literary figure on what would have been his 87th birthday. Achebe was a renanissance man in the literary and intellectual world, standing out as an influential poet, critic, professor, and novelist. He’s best known for his 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, which is considered one of the most widely read books in modern African literature. Achebe is also famous for criticism of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness, which he describes as dehumanizing to the African characters depicted and calls out the author for refusing to bestow “human expression” on Africans. His essay “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” is often taught side-by-side with Conrad’s novel in classrooms.

Achebe passed away on March 21, 2013. His career had last over half a century, as he released notable written works, including No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). He’s also won numerous awards throughout his career, including Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (1979), St. Louis Literary Award (1999), Man Booker International Prize (2007), and The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2010).

The style of his fiction is heavily influenced by the oral tradition of the Igbo people. He reveals the values of his community through his narratives, as he uses the English language to bring his culture onto a global stage. Here’s some of his very best quotes and sayings…

Chinua Achebe Quotes: Best Quotes & Most-Famous Sayings

“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” – Chinua Achebe

“When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.” – Chinua Achebe

“A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.” – Chinua Achebe

“Art is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.” – Chinua Achebe

“Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” – Chinua Achebe

“People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.” – Chinua Achebe

“The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.” – Chinua Achebe

“When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.” – Chinua Achebe

“What a country needs to do is be fair to all its citizens – whether people are of a different ethnicity or gender.” – Chinua Acheb

“Nigeria is what it is because its leaders aren’t what they should be.”

“People from different parts of the world can respond to the same story if it says something to them about their own history and their own experience.” – Chinua Achebe

“The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery.” Chinua Achebe

“I think an artist, in my definition of that word, would not be someone who takes sides with the emperor against his powerless subjects. That’s different from prescribing a way in which a writer should write.” – Chinua Achebe

“When a tradition gathers enough strength to go on for centuries, you don’t just turn it off one day.” – Chinua Achebe

COED Writer
COED Writer
I've been sent out of college, with honors and such, on the search for the American Dream. I'm a New York native, filtering through the net for the next hit story. I'm a good bro, too. Check out my brother's art page:
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