Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30,221,532 km² (11,668,599 sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 20.4% of the Earth's total land area, and with over 1 billion inhabitants in 61 territories, it accounts for about 15% of the world's human population. Modern human evolutionary theory recognizes Africa, particularly the area in and around present-day Ethiopia, as the cradle of humankind.
Raised by Christian parents in the Igbo village of Ogidi in south Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). Achebe wrote his novels in English and has defended the use of English, a language of colonisers, in African literature. In 1975 he was the focus of controversy when he delivered a lecture entitled An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". He criticised author Joseph Conrad for his unflattering depiction of African people, referring to him as "a thoroughgoing racist". (Read more...)