Africa‘s most widely-read author Chinua Achebe may have died nearly a decade ago but his stardust appears not to have been exhausted as his family announced that an agreement has been found with production companies to turn three of his bestsellers in a TV series project.
Earlier this year, Achebe Masterworks LLC, the company that holds the rights to all of Achebe’s works announced that the world will get to see Things Fall Apart, his debut novel, on screen. Published in 1958, Things Fall Apart is the most read by an African writer. But now, another two works, No Longer At Ease and Arrow of God, will also receive on-screen adaptations, completing what is being called an African Trilogy.
For the managers of Achebe’s estates, “[A] television series combines the visual appeal of a film with the ability to tell stories overextended programming. This makes it possible to faithfully present the African Trilogy’s epic multigenerational sweep on-screen to global audiences for the first time.”
While No Longer At Ease tells the story of an ethnic Igbo man in Nigeria’s British colonial service struggling to find a balance between his African identity and Western education, Arrow of God narrates the story of the clash between Christianity and colonial rule on one hand and the Igbo peoples’ resistance to such. The story is told through the bildungsroman of Ezeulu, a traditional priest. Together with Things Fall Apart, all three books retain certain commonalities in themes and styles.
Achebe Masterworks says “[T] he series will portray decades of wrenching societal change from the end of the 19th century in Things Fall Apart through the emerging 20th century in Arrow of God and the mid 20th century pre-independence period in No Longer At Ease.”
A prolific writer and scholar
Achebe relocated to the United States after an accident in 1990 that left him paralyzed. But the Nigerian writer proved he was as resilient as he was gifted. For 23 years, he remained productive despite being wheelchair-bound.
He became the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College, just north of New York City for 15 years. In 2009, he left Bard to join the faculty of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, as the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of Africana studies.
Achebe died after a short illness on March 21, 2013, aged 82 in Boston, Massachusetts. His awards include the Man Booker International Prize (2007) and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2010). Additionally, he received honorary degrees from more than 30 universities around the world.