"It really was the world's loss. I think he was remarkable, and you know, not only was he a wonderful writer who wrote about the dignity of a people, he was also a man of just incredible integrity. I like to say that he gave me permission to write, because until I read him, when I was about 10, I was writing stories — I started writing quite young — and I was writing copies of the British books I was reading. So, you know, my characters were all white and were playing in the snow and here I was in small-town Nigeria. And then Chinua Achebe's work came. And you know, the best of literature is that you are reading but you're learning as well, and you're growing, and at the end of it you feel that you know more about human nature, that there's a sense of just being human that's just really wonderful."