Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author best known for his 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, has won the Man Booker International Prize. The £60,000 prize, secondary to the main Man Booker prize, was recently established and is awarded every two years to “a living author for a body of work that has contributed to an achievement in fiction on the world stage.” It was first awarded to Ismail Kadaré in 2005.
Achebe’s work has focused on African politics, the effects of colonialism on the continent, and perceptions of Africa and its people in the West. Things Fall Apart has sold over 10 million copies and has been translated into 50 languages. His novel Anthills of the Savannah was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1987.
Author Nadine Gordimer, who was one of three jurors, wrote:
Chinua Achebe’s early work made him the father of modern African literature as an integral part of world literature. He has gone on to achieve what one of his characters brilliantly defines as the writer’s purpose: ‘a new-found utterance’ for the capture of life’s complexity.
The other jurors were authors Elaine Showalter and Colm Tóibin. Achebe will receive the prize at a ceremony on June 28, 2007, at Christ Church in Oxford.