Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chinua Achebe

1930 – 2013

This is what I try to tell my students: this is one great thing that literature can do — it can make us identify with situations and people far away. If it does that, it's a miracle. I tell my students, it's not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What's more difficult is to identify with someone you don't see, who's very far away, who's a different color, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.

— from an interview in The Atlantic, August 2, 2000

Photo: Craig Ruttle/AP