There is no living African writer who has not had to, or will not have to, contend with Achebe's work. We are either resisting him - stylistically, politically, or culturally - or we are writing toward him.
My grand uncle was a traditional priest, and he would always say to me as a kid, 'We stand in our own light,' which essentially for him meant we were entirely responsible for a lot of what happens to us and for the ways in which our lives play out.
I was born in 1966, at the beginning of the Biafran-Nigerian Civil War, and the war ended after three years. And I was growing up in school, and the federal government didn't want us taught about the history of the war, because they thought it probably would make us generate a new generation of rebels.
I had amazing intellectual privilege as a kid. My mom taught me to read when I was two or three. When I was five, I read and wrote well enough to do my nine-year older brother's homework in exchange for chocolate or cigarettes. By the time I was 10, I was reading Orwell, Tolstoy's 'War and Peace,' and the Koran. I was reading comic books, too.
George P. Burnham