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A Tribute to Chinua Achebe

February 26, 2008 | The Town Hall | New York City

With Chinua Achebe, Chris Abani, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Michael Cunningham, Edwidge Danticat, Suheir Hammad, Ha Jin, Colum McCann, and Toni Morrison

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of his seminal novel Things Fall Apart, PEN American Center hosted a major tribute to Nigerian writer and literary luminary Chinua Achebe.

Copyright © 2008 Beowulf Sheehan/
PEN American Center     READINGS

Things Fall Apart
By Chinua Achebe

“Can you tell me, Okonkwo, why it is that one of the commonest names we give our children is Nneka, or “Mother is Supreme?” We all know that a man is the head of the family and his wives do his bidding. A child belongs to its father and his family and not to its mother and her family. A man belongs to his fatherland and not to his motherland. And yet we say Nneka—‘Mother is Supreme.’ Why is that?” [More]

 • Chinua Achebe reads from and discusses his novel Things Fall Apart

Things Come Together, Things Fall Apart
By Colum McCann

The best literature is connected. We are word-linked. What gives off the deepest sparks is the democracy of story-telling. The finest ones are those who, when we hear them for the first time, sound as if they’ve been whispering in our ears our whole lives. Somehow they have always been there: somehow they always will. [More]



  Entire Event (1:28:35)


  Michael Cunningham (1:41)         Edwidge Danticat (9:57)         Chris Abani (5:19)         Colum McCann (5:57)         Suheir Hammad (4:04)         Ha Jin (22:34)         Chimamanda Adichie (7:04)         Toni Morrison (24:58)         Leon Botstein (14:13)         Chinua Achebe (13:18)

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