Dear Members of the Brown Community,

The University has received the sad news of the death of Professor Chinua Achebe. Professor Achebe died yesterday in Boston. He was 82.

Professor Achebe came to Brown in 2009 after 19 years on the faculty of Bard College. His career led him from humble beginnings in the Nigerian town of Ogidi to international acclaim both as a writer of literature and an incisive critic. At Brown, Professor Achebe played an important role in highlighting social and political issues of importance in Africa through the annual Achebe Colloquium on Africa.

Our colleague Corey D.B. Walker, chair of Africana studies, cites a simple and powerful African phrase, “A great tree has fallen.”

Our thoughts are with Professor Achebe’s family, his colleagues, and the many whose lives have been enriched by his life and work.

The University’s flags will fly at half-staff as a mark of respect for the passing of a current faculty member, and the University will consult with Professor Achebe’s family and friends to plan a fitting memorial in celebration of an extraordinary life.

Additional information and video are available on the University’s home page.


Christina H. Paxson