Celebrating Chinua Achebe's Legacy

Arrow of God at 50

24 & 25 October 2014

Institute of English Studies, University of London, Senate House

An international conference to commemorate Chinua Achebe’s work and influence, and to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Arrow of God, which many consider Achebe’s greatest novel.  

Featured speakers include Akachi Ezeigbo, Harry Garuba,Simon Gikandi, T. Vijay Kumar, Okey Ndibe, Femi Osofisan (presenting a dramatisation of Arrow of God).

Panels discussing Arrow of God reconsidered; Achebe’s influence; translating Achebe; Achebe and postcolonial studies; global reception of Arrow of God; Arrow of God, trauma and ecology; African writing post-Achebe.

Conference Organizing Committee: Alastair Niven (Chair); Dr Kai Easton (SOAS),  Ms Suzie Huggins (Stirling); Professor Lyn Innes (Kent); Dr Madhu Krishnan (Bristol); Dr Mark Mathuray (Royal Holloway); Professor Stephen Morton (Southampton); Dr Mpalive Msiska (Birkbeck);  Dr Zoe Norridge (Kings College London); Dr Ranka Primorac (Southampton); Dr Wim Van Mierlo (Institute of English Studies).

Image designed by Obiora Udechukwu for the 2008 conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of "Things Fall Apart".  Reproduced with kind permission.

Chinua Achebe was winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2007.  This conference is supported by the Booker Prize Foundation, the Universities of Bristol and Southampton, the Royal Africa Society, the School of Oriental and African Studies, King's College London, Wasafiri and Pearson Education Africa.




Rates include refreshments, drinks reception and lunch on 25th Oct. 


£75 Standard

£50 Speakers/IES Friends & Members/Students/Unwaged


£45 Standard

£30 Speakers/IES Friends & Members/Students/Unwaged


£5 just for those not attending the conference; otherwise it is part of the conference programme


Pre-conference public event: The 2nd annual F. T. Prince Memorial Lecture: Professor Simon Gikandi (Robert Schirmer Professor of English at Princeton University): 'Arrow of God: The Novel and the Problem of Modernity'
23 October 2014 - 6:00pm: Avenue Campus, University of Southampton. Chaired by Professor Don Nutbeam (Vice-Chancellor).  This is the second of an annual series of lectures given in honour of the poet and scholar F.T. Prince, one of Southampton's first English professors. Invited speakers explore new directions in literary studies, drawing on the English department's wide range of intellectual interests.  All welcome.  Click here for details.

Draft Programme

Friday 24 October 

09:30 onwards Registration  

Writing Competition Presentations

Introduction by Lyn Innes, followed by a panel discussion on the reception and teaching of Arrow of God.  Panellists to include Nisha Obano and Florian Stadtler.

11:45-13:00 Lunch (own arrangements)  

Opening of Conference: Alastair Niven
An overview of the international celebrations of Arrow of God, and thanks from the Achebe family, by Chidi Achebe

Keynote Address 1: Harry Garuba, 'Postcolonial Modernity and Normalization: Reading Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God in the Present Tense'

14:00-15:30 PARALLEL SESSIONS:  
  1.a:  Stephen Morton, ‘Reading Orature in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God’
Rashna Singh, ‘”When Lizards Visit:” Arrow of God and the “worldling” of Achebe’s Oeuvre’
Nair Anaya, ‘Ironic Epitaphs and Reception of Arrow of God in Third World Countries’
  1.b:  Daria Tunca, ‘Writing Forth or Talking Back?  Chimamanda Ngozi  Adichie as Chinua Achebe’s Unruly Daughter’
Oluwole Coker, ‘Must Things Fall Apart? Achebe, Intertextuality, and Third-generation African Fiction’
Joseph McLaren, ‘Chinua Achebe’s Legacy: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and the Diasporic African Novel’
15:30-16:00 Tea/Coffee  
16:00-17:30 PARALLEL SESSIONS:  
  2.a:  Neil Ten Kortenaar,  ‘Arrow of God, the social contract, and the problem of  succession’
Ide Corley, ‘”The Man Who Carries a Deity is not a King”: Authority, Universalism and Difference in Arrow of God and Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus’
Chris Onyema, ‘Eco-Trauma: Dis-location, Dis-eases and Environmental Discourse in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God’
  2.b:  Chikwendu PK  Anyanwu, ‘The Implications of Colonial Interference and Achebe’s Intervention in the Politics of Umunna’
Jago  Morrison, ‘Gender and Resistance in Arrow of God: a Reassessment’
Uzoma Esonwanne, ‘Rereading: Arrow of God’

Drinks Reception.  Music by Kadialy Kouyate

Kadialy Kouyate is a musician and Kora player from Senegal who performs both traditional and original songs inspired by the West African Griot repertoire. Born into the great line of Kouyate Griot in Southern Senegal, Kadialy’s mesmerising kora playing and singing style have been appreciated in many prestigious venues. As both a soloist and in different ensembles he has played, for example: the Royal Festival Hall, the O2 Arena, Glastonbury and WOMAD amongst others.

18:15-18:45 Ayebia Clarke and James Currey, "Worldwide tributes to Chinua Achebe".    
18:45-19:45 Femi Osofisan, 'Dramatizing Achebe: Arrow of God as a work in progress'  

Saturday 25 October 

09:30 Registration with tea/coffee  
10:00-11:00 Keynote Address 3: T. Vijay Kumar, '"A man who asks questions does not lose his way": Chinua Achebe's legacy for Postcolonial Studies'  
11:00-12:30 PARALLEL SESSIONS:  
  3.a:  Mpalive-Hangson  Msiska, ‘Colonialism, Trauma and Affect:  Reading Arrow of God through There Was a Country’
Aretha Phiri, ‘(Re)Negotiating Trauma in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God  and Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Headstrong Historian”.’
Louisa  Uchum  Egbunike, ‘Collective memory and the Politics of Re-membering in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God’
  3.b:  Marta Sofia Lopez Rodriguez and Maya G. Vinuesa, ‘ Translating Arrow of God  into Spanish’
Amaralis Anchieta, ‘Tongue-tied: translating short stories from the war’
Joanna Passos, ‘’Chinua Achebe and his Generation: Writing Historical Transitions, recovering marginalized legacies’
12:30-1:30 Lunch  
13:30-15:00 PARELLEL SESSIONS:  
  4.a:  Chikukuango Cuxima-Zwa, ‘Chinua Achebe and Fela Kuti as Political Activism, Music and Ritual Practice’
Terri  Ochiagha, ‘Unconscious Coupling?: Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, and the Colonial Theme in Onitsha Market Writing’
Ranka  Primorac, ‘God’s Arrows’ (Achebe and Mulaisho)
  4.b:  Malika Rebai Maamri, ‘Voices of Resistance: Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God (1964) and Yasmina Khadra’s In the Name of God (2000)’
John Kwame Tawiah-Boateng, ‘Exorcizing Okonkwo’s Truculence: Validating Arrow of God’s  Canonicity as Chinua Achebe’s Opus Magnum’
Obi  Nwakanma, ‘The Rupture in Sacred Time: Ezeulu’s Discontent and the End of History in Arrow of God.’
15:00-16:00 Keynote Address 4: Okey Ndibe, reads from and discusses his work.  
16:00-16:30 Tea/Coffee  

Closing panel

Speakers to include Akachi EzeigboSimon Gikandi, Billy KahoraTricia Wombell, Lyn Innes

17:30-17:45 Akachi Ezeigbo: Performance of Celebratory Dirge for Chinua Achebe  

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