“We Should Revere Him Better


A fantastic essay at The New Inquiry inspects the recently deceased Chinua Achebe’s place in the Western literary canon.

In an interview a few years ago, Norman Rush was talking about the ways he was influenced by African writers, and he mentioned that “No non-African could do what Achebe has done.” And I get what he was saying. But there’s also a back-handedness to this compliment that makes me nervous.

Read the whole thing for more on what made Achebe a great novelist, and the subtle segregation to which books by African writers can be subjected.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →