Sometime during my Peace Corps service in Cameroon I was turned on to Chinua Achebe, or was it before? I can’t remember the exact moment when I picked up Things Fall Apart or its companion volumes. Fast forward some years; I was working as a researcher at the Vera List Center for Art & Politics (which incidentally has its 20th anniversary conference tomorrow) and I proposed to then director, Sondra Farganis a public conversation between Robert Klitgaard, Dean of Rand Graduate School and author of Tropical Gangsters and Controlling Corruption and Chinua Achebe (who was then at Bard College). The plan was taking shape, but in the end Mr. Achebe called to say his health was not good enough for the trip to NYC. I was able to hear him speak a couple years later at the PEN World Voices Festival thankfully.
Mr. Achebe died on the 21st March 2013 in Boston.