The Chinua Achebe International Symposium Princeton University to Host African Scholars in Commemorating the Legacy of Chinua Achebe

Princeton University’s Africa World Initiative and Program in African Studies is hosting a symposium in honour of Chinua Achebe’s legacy and relevance. The Editor-in-Chief of The Republic, Wale Lawal, will attend as a speaker.

On 29 September 2023, Princeton University’s Africa World Initiative and Program in African Studies will jointly host a symposium to honour the late Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic, Chinua Achebe. Achebe is widely regarded as one of the most important figures in African literature. His literary works frequently delve into the intricacies of African identity, the effects of colonialism, and the confrontation between long-standing African traditions and the impact of European colonization. Among his famous works are Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease and The Trouble with Nigeria. The former is regarded as a contemporary African classic and has been translated into numerous languages.

The forum will mark the 40th anniversary of Achebe’s The Trouble with Nigeria, an incisive non-fiction critique of the political and societal issues within Nigeria. It is a collection of essays that offer a critical analysis of the issues that Nigeria was grappling with at the time. The book is a candid and insightful examination of these challenges, many of which still plague the country. These issues include corruption, leadership failures, ethnic and religious intolerance, and an overall lack of good governance.

The symposium will comprise three panels that will explore fresh perspectives on Achebe studies, the politics of canonicity and a roundtable on leadership in Nigeria and Africa. The Republic’s Editor-in-Chief, Wale Lawal, will be part of the roundtable.

Lawal is an alumnus of Oxford University where he received an MS in African Studies and is currently a senior researcher at Harvard University. He will be discussing with other prominent scholars during the forum. These include writers, Chika Unigwe and Chris Abani; Princeton University’s Simon Gikandi and Hannah Essien; and University of Denver-Colorado’s Maik Nwosu.

In addition to the symposium, a memorial celebration will be held on 30 September 2023, making the event a two-day commemoration. His Royal Majesty, Igwe Alex Onyido, the Monarch of Ogidi Kingdom in Nigeria, Achebe’s birthplace, will be in attendance for the memorial.

Both events are open to the public and scholars, literary enthusiasts and those curious about Nigerian history and culture are welcome to attend. The event aims to celebrate Achebe’s legacy and relevance in the contemporary world.

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