Toni Morrison on language, evil and ‘the white gaze’

“Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55, returned to Cornell March 7, 2013 for a conversation about literature, politics and, especially, language. She answered questions posed to her by longtime friend and colleague Claudia Brodsky, a professor of comparative literature at Princeton University.”


Chinua Achebe: 11/16/30 – 03/21/13


If you don’t like someone’s story, you write your own – Chinua Achebe

The above quote sums up the underlying theme of this blog. But the great writer also made this statement that resonates with me and the work I do here on Ourstorian:

There is that great proverb–that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter … Once I realized that, I had to be a writer – Chinua Achebe

Eulogies and reminiscences have flooded the Internet since the announcement of Achebe’s transition to the Village of the Ancestors. I selected a few noteworthy tributes below and mixed them in with some of Achebe’s own writings and interviews. It remains a challenge, however, to do justice to his life’s work with any commentary. As much as been said thus far, much more is still to come as we reflect on what Achebe gave us and taught us. In my own case, I have been struggling unsuccessfully to recall when I first read Things Fall Apart. My memory has failed to place my encounter with the novel in the late sixties or early seventies. What remains indelible, in any event, is the impact it had on me as a reader with a voracious appetite for African literature and history, and the fact that it was an essential component in my discovery of an entire generation of African writers: Amos Tutuola, Cyprian Ekwensi, Alex la Guma, Mongo Beti, Bessie Head, Wole Soyinka, James Ngugi (Ngugi wa Thiongo), Ayi Kwei Armah, Kofi Awoonor … to name a few.

As I stated above, Achebe’s legacy will be a topic of much discussion going forward. The items linked below, which represent a small sampling of what has appeared online in the past week, are offered for consideration to that end. I plan to add to this list as more materials come to my attention. I am open to suggestions, so please forward your ideas.

How Things Fell Apart by Chinua Achebe – Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics

On The Passing of Chinua Achebe By J. P. Clark & Wole Soyinka

Novelist Chinua Achebe Dies – The Guardian

Without the Story We are Blind – Mail & Guardian




small things fall apart

Jan Carew

Jan_Carew_(24 September 1920 – 5 December 2012)

For his wiki entry click here …This feature page on Chickenbones, written by his dear friend and countryman Eusi Kwayana, contains detailed information on his life, career, and literary oeuvre.

Travel in peace, Baba Jan, on your journey to the village of the ancestors …