Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

In pictures: Chinua Achebe goes home

Poster welcoming the visit of novelist Chinua Achebe

In January the Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe was invited to return to his homeland for the first time in a decade to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his celebrated novel Things Fall Apart.

Chinua Achebe arriving at Abuja airport

When Chinua Achebe arrived at the airport in Abuja, he was greeted by an huge crowd of well-wishers. He left Nigeria in the early 1990s after a horrific road accident in which he lost the use of his legs.

Journalists waiting to hear from Chinua Achebe

Local journalists waited for more than three hours for Chinua Achebe to address a press conference called to mark his return.

View of Chinua Achebe's convoy en route to Owerri

The convoy which drove Chinua Achebe and his entourage to Owerri, in eastern Nigeria, where he had been invited to give the keynote speech at a festival celebrating the culture of the Igbo people.

Some of the armed police which accompanied Chinua Achebe's convoy to Owerri

Some of the armed policemen who accompanied Chinua Achebe's convoy during the ten hour journey from Abuja to Owerri.

Fruit sellers

Market sellers offering fruit and peanuts on the route between Abuja and Owerri.

Roadside seller

A woman selling vegetables by the side of the road between Abuja and Owerri.

A banner welcoming Chinua Achebe to Owerri

Dozens of banners all across Owerri welcomed the return of Chinua Achebe. Last time the novelist spoke publicly in Nigeria, it was to crowd of tens of thousands in a football stadium.

Well wishers await the arrival of Chinua Achebe in Owerri

Thousands of well-wishers waited for Chinua Achebe's arrival in Owerri. Many displayed home-made medallions like these men.

The audience for Chinua Achebe's lecture

The audience for Chinua Achebe's keynote address included dozens of local dignitaries, politicians and tribal leaders. They waited patiently in a hot marquee for many hours.

Local musicians entertain the audience waiting to hear Chinua Achebe's speech.

Local musicians entertained the audience while they waited for Chinua Achebe to arrive.

Chinua Achebe and colleague

The novelist Chinua Achebe (right) prepares to address the expectant crowd which gathered in the grounds of the Hilton Hotel in Owerri as part of the annual Ahiajoku festival.

The family of novelist Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe was accompanied by his wife Christie (in red), his youngest daughter Nwando and sons Ikechukwu and Chidi (in black).

Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe first addressed the audience in the Igbo before switching to English. He talked of the importance of maintaining cultural traditions and supporting local languages.

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