‘I think every book I’ve done has tried to be different; this is what I set out to do, because I believe in the complexity of the human story and that there’s no way you can tell that story in one way and say, This is it. Always there will be someone who can tell it differently depending on where they are standing; the same person telling the story will tell it differently. I think of that masquerade in Igbo festivals that dances in the public arena. The Igbo people say, If you want to see it well, you must not stand in one place. The masquerade is moving through this big arena. Dancing. If you’re rooted to a spot, you miss a lot of the grace. So you keep moving, and this is the way I think the world’s stories should be told—from many different perspectives.’

– Chinua Achebe, The Art of Fiction No. 139, The Paris Review

‘I am not an early-morning person; I don’t like to get out of bed, and so I don’t begin writing at five A.M., though some people, I hear, do. I write once my day has started. And I can work late into the night, also. Generally, I don’t attempt to produce a certain number of words a day. The discipline is to work whether you are producing a lot or not, because the day you produce a lot is not necessarily the day you do your best work. So it’s trying to do it as regularly as you can without making it—without imposing too rigid a timetable on your self.’

– Chinua Achebe, The Art of Fiction No. 139, The Paris Review

‘It is like wrestling; you are wrestling with ideas and with the story. There is a lot of energy required. At the same time, it is exciting. So it is both difficult and easy. What you must accept is that your life is not going to be the same while you are writing. I have said in the kind of exaggerated manner of writers and prophets that writing, for me, is like receiving a term of imprisonment–—you know that’s what you’re in for, for whatever time it takes. So it is both pleasurable and difficult.’

– Chinua Achebe, The Art of Fiction No. 139, The Paris Review

‘Once a novel gets going and I know it is viable, I don’t then worry about plot or themes. These things will come in almost automatically because the characters are now pulling the story. At some point it seems as if you are not as much in command, in control, of events as you thought you were. There are things the story must have or else look incomplete. And these will almost automatically present themselves. When they don’t, you are in trouble and then the novel stops.’

– Chinua Achebe, The Art of Fiction No. 139, The Paris Review