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The lecture caused a storm of controversy even at the reception immediately following his talk. In his essay "The African Writer and the English Language" he discusses how the process of colonialism – for all its ills – provided colonised people from varying linguistic backgrounds "a language with which to talk to one another". His essay "A Bloody Racist: About Achebe's View of Conrad" defends Heart of Darkness as an anti-imperialist novel suggesting that "part of its greatness lies in the power of its criticisms of racial prejudice.
He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures and began writing stories as a university student. He was best known for his first novel and magnum opusThings Fall Apart (1958) which is the most widely read book in modern African literature. After graduation he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos.