Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. He was raised in the large village of Ogidi, one of the first centers of Anglican missionary work in Eastern Nigeria, and graduated from University College, Ibadan. His early career in radio ended abruptly in 1966, when he left his post as Director of External Broadcasting in Nigeria during the national upheaval that led to the Biafran War. Achebe joined the Biafran Ministry of Information and represented Biafra on various diplomatic and fund-raising missions. He was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and began lecturing widely abroad. For over fifteen years, he was the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. He was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of Africana studies at Brown University. Chinua Achebe wrote over twenty books - novels, short stories, essays and collections of poetry - and received numerous honours from around the world, including the Honourary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as honourary doctorates from more than thirty colleges and universities. He wasalso the recipient of Nigeria's highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award. In 2007, he won the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction. He died in 2013.
Maya Jaggi is a journalist and critic, and is known as an expert on postcolonial literatures. She is a feature writer and lead reviewer for the Guardian. Born in London and educatedat Oxford University and the London School of Economics, she was formerly literary editor of the journal Third World Quarterly.