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WRITER AND BARD COLLEGE FACULTY MEMBER CHINUA ACHEBE TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES ON OCTOBER 5
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—On Saturday, October 5, writer and Bard College faculty member Chinua Achebe will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a learned society composed of many of the world's leading scientists, scholars, artists, business people, and public leaders. Other members being inducted this year include U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Nobel Prize-winning chemist George A. Olah, Academy Award-winning actress Anjelica Huston, and violinist Itzhack Perlman. Since 1990 Achebe has been the Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
Born in Nigeria in 1930, Achebe is one of Africa’s most important and influential writers and is widely regarded as the patriarch of the modern African novel. His groundbreaking 1958 book Things Fall Apart has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than fifty languages. Through his novels, essays, and poetry, Achebe has expressed a passionate commitment to political justice and has brought to life both the African viewpoint of European colonialism but also the troubled political life of contemporary Africa.
Achebe is the author of five novels, including No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, and Anthills of the Savannah; two volumes of poetry; five children’s books; and numerous short stories and critical essays. His most recent book, Home and Exile, was published in 2000 by Oxford University Press. His awards and prizes include the Commonwealth Poetry Prize; Lotus Award for Afro-Asian Writers; Campion Medal, and the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA), the country’s highest award for intellectual achievement. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, London; Honorary Foreign Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Letters; and Presidential Fellow Lecturer, The World Bank.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." Since its founding, the Academy has elected as fellows and foreign honorary members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each ensuing generation, including George Washington and Ben Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. Its current membership of more than 3,700 fellows and 600 foreign honorary members includes more than 150 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners. Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of its membership, the Academy conducts thoughtful, innovative, nonpartisan studies on international security, social policy, education, and the humanities. For more information on the Academy, call 617-576-5047.
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