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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Eng 1406

Chinua Achebe papers

Manuscripts of Achebe's main publications from Arrow of God (1964) to Anthills of the Savannah (1987), and of a few later occasional writings down to 1993; with some publishers' correspondence.


  • 1963-1993

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


3 linear feet (9 boxes)

The collection consists of manuscripts of Achebe's main publications from Arrow of God (1964) to Anthills of the Savannah (1987), and of a few later occasional writings down to 1993; and a small amount of correspondence, mostly with publishers. Achebe wrote almost all the compositions in this collection in longhand. The original manuscripts went through several drafts, and when they were typed he continued to revise them by hand. The publishers' setting copies, however, are usually clean.

Biographical / Historical

Chinua Achebe (1930- ) is a Nigerian writer and scholar. He became well known after his first novel Things fall apart (1958), which depicted the encounter of the Igbo people of Nigeria with the British colonial power. His subsequent novels and short stories are likewise set in West Africa. Achebe's poetry was written out of the experience of the Biafran war of 1966-1970. He became Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1970, and Emeritus Professor of English in 1985. After holding several visiting appointments in Britain and the United States, in 1991 he became Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in New York.


Organized into the following series:
  1. I. Compositions: A. Fiction
  2. I. Compositions: B. Poetry
  3. I. Compositions: C. Essays and other compositions
  4. II. Correspondence
  5. III. Other papers

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*95M-57. Purchased from Chinua Achebe through George Robert Minkoff with funds from the Amy Lowell fund and from the Afro-American Studies Department. Received 1996 May 15.

Processing Information

Processed by: J. F. Coakley
Link to catalog
Achebe, Chinua. Chinua Achebe papers, circa 1963-1993: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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