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Chinua Achebe wins 2007 Man Booker International Prize

June 13, 2007 00:36 IST

Nigerian-born Chinua Achebe, considered the father of modern African writing, has won the second Man Booker International Prize worth 60,000 pounds, edging out, among others, Indian-born Salman Rushdie.

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded once 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 Kadare in 2005.

Besides Achebe and Rushdie, others in contention were Margaret Atwood, John Banville, Peter Carey, Don DeLillo, Carlos Fuentes, Doris Lessing, Ian McEwan, Harry Mulisch, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje, Amos Oz, Philip Roth and Michel Tournier.

Achebe is probably best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart, written in 1958 and Anthills of the Savannah, published over 30 years later.

Achebe was born in 1930 and educated at the government college in Umuahia and at the university college of Ibadan, Nigeria.

He joined the Nigerian Broadcasting company in Lagos in 1954 and, during 1956, studied broadcasting at the BBC in London.

A diplomat in the ill-fated Biafran government of 1967-1970, Achebe's work is primarily centred on African politics, the depiction of Africa and Africans in the West, and the intricacies of pre-colonial African culture and civilization, as well as the effects of colonization of African societies.

He has lectured at many universities worldwide and is now theĀ Charles P Stevenson Jr Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard college, Annandale, New York State.

Many African writers have been inspired by Achebe's work.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who won the Orange Prize for fiction last week for Half A Yellow Sun, said, "He is a remarkable man. The writer and the man. He's what I think writers should be."

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