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Nigerian author Chinua Achebe is currently Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University in Providence, R.I. ((Axel Seidemann/Associated Press))

Nigerian-born writer Chinua Achebe has captured the $300,000 US Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.

Achebe is author of the 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, which has sold 10 million copies worldwide. He has published more than 20 other volumes of short stories, essays and poetry.

The 78-year-old author won the Man Booker International Prize in 2007, recognizing a lifetime of work.

Achebe's writings examine African politics and chronicle the ways in which African culture and civilization has survived in the post-colonial world. His other acclaimed works include A Man of the People from 1966 and Anthills of the Savannah from 1988.

The author, who is paralyzed from the waist down due to a 1990 car accident, is currently Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

The Gish Prize, now in its 17th year, recognizes leading artists in such fields as drama, music and dance, as well as literature. Achebe joins past winners including Bob Dylan, Arthur Miller and Robert Redford.

The prize was established by silent film stars Dorothy and Lillian Gish and is one of the largest and most prestigious awards in the arts.