People are wrong when they tell you that Conrad was on the side of Africans because his story showed great compassion towards them. Africans are not really served by his compassion, whatever it means; they ask for one thing alone – to be seen for what they are: human beings. Conrad pulls back from granting them this favour in Heart of Darkness.

Children left their old parents at home and scattered in all directions in search of money. It was hard on an old woman with eight children. It was like having a river and yet washing one's hands with spittle.

Any evil which you might have seen with your eyes, or spoken with your mouth, or heard with your ears or trodden with your feet; whatever your father might have brought upon you or your mother brought upon you, I cover them all here.

Mosquito [...] had asked Ear to marry him, whereupon Ear fell on the floor in uncontrollable laughter. "How much longer do you think you will live?" she asked. "You are already a skeleton." Mosquito went away humiliated, and any time he passed her way he told Ear that he was still alive.

A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.

The world is large, said Okonkwo. I have even heard that in some tribes a man's children belong to his wife and her family.

A snake was never called by its name at night, because it would hear. It was called a string.

Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.

The writer cannot expect to be excused from the task of re-education and re-generation that must be done. In fact, he should march right in front.

An artist, in my understanding of the word, should side with the people against the Emperor that oppresses his or her people.

I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.

Women and music should not be dated.

The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery.

I've had trouble now and again in Nigeria because I have spoken up about the mistreatment of factions in the country because of difference in religion. These are things we should put behind us.

And theories are no more than fictions which help us to make sense of experience and which are subject to disconfirmation when their explanations are no longer adequate.

Onye nkuzi ewelu itali piagbusie umuaka. One of the ways an emphasis is laid in Ibo is by exaggeration, so that the teacher in the refrain might not actually have flogged the children to death.

The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.

The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.

A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.

Privilege, you see, is one of the great adversaries of the imagination; it spreads a thick layer of adipose tissue over our sensitivity.

Who ever planted an iroko tree - the greatest tree in the forest? You may collect all the iroko seeds in the world, open the soil and put them there. It will be in vain. The great tree chooses where to grow and we find it there, so it is with greatness in men.

Stories are not always innocent;...they can be used to put you in the wrong crowd, in the party of the man who has come to dispossess you.

You do not know me,' said Tortoise. ‘I am a changed man. I have learned that a man who makes trouble for others makes trouble for himself.

Its body was carved with men and pythons and little steps were cut on one side; without these the drummer could not climb to the top to beat it. When the Ikolo was beaten for war it was decorated with skulls won in past wars. But now it sang of peace.

When Suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat left for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.

The most important thing about myself is that my life has been full of changes. Therefore, when I observe the world, I don't expect to see it just like I was seeing the fellow who lives in the next room.

What kind of power was it if everybody knew that it would never be used? Better to say that it was not there, that it was no more than the power in the anus of the proud dog who tried to put out a furnace with his puny fart.... He turned the yam with a stick.

There is no story that is not true," said Uchendu. "The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.

When you have paid a hundred and thirty pounds bride-price and you are only a second-class clerk, you find you haven't got any more to spare on other women.

Writers don't give prescriptions. They give headaches!

Nigeria has had a complicated colonial history. My work has examined that part of our story extensively.

Many writers can't make a living. So to be able to teach how to write is valuable to them. But I don't really know about its value to the student. I don't mean it's useless. But I wouldn't have wanted anyone to teach me how to write.

I would be quite satisfied if my novels (especially the ones I set in the past) did no more than teach my readers that their past - with all its imperfections - was not one long night of savagery from which the first Europeans acting on God's behalf delivered them.

Once you allow yourself to identify with the people in a story, then you might begin to see yourself in that story even if on the surface it's far removed from your situation.

They have not always elected the best leaders, particularly after a long period in which they have not used this facility of free election. You tend to lose the habit.

People from different parts of the world can respond to the same story if it says something to them about their own history and their own experience.

The fly that no one to advise it follows the corpse into the grave.

We do not seek to hurt any man, but if any man seeks to hurt us may he break his neck.

And so Mr. Brown came to be respected even by the clan, because he trod softly on its faith.

What a country needs to do is be fair to all its citizens - whether people are of a different ethnicity or gender.

In the vocabulary of certain radical theorists contradictions are given the status of some deadly disease to which their opponents alone can succumb. But contradictions are the very stuff of life. If there had been a little dash of contradiction among the Gadarene swine some of them might have been saved from drowning.

I think back to the old people I knew when I was growing up, and they always seemed larger than life.

People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.

Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am - and what I need - is something I have to find out myself.

The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.

When I began going to school and learned to read, I encountered stories of other people and other lands.

Writing has always been a serious business for me. I felt it was a moral obligation. A major concern of the time was the absence of the African voice. Being part of that dialogue meant not only sitting at the table but effectively telling the African story from an African perspective - in full earshot of the world.

The real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.

To show affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength.