I am currently re-reading Chinua Achebe's 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart." I first read this novel about 32 years ago. That's a scary thought. Some of you lot weren't even born etceteraoldmangrumblingabouthislostyouth. Anyway. One of the best things about my copy of the book--a 1959 US paperback edition--is the author photo. I will never be as cool as Mr. Achebe was in 1958 when this photo was taken:
Yes, he's an old man in a wheelchair these days, but back then? Total badass*. That's what I want my author photo to look like. And yes, I admit it: it's things like having an author photo that made my child brain want to be a writer when I grew up. My wish was to join that group of people who had made me happiest, who had brought the most joy and thirst for knowledge and adventure into my life: novelists. It's not just the photos, of course; the books themselves are the magic and the fact that there are people who write them dawned upon me only later. But when I figured out what an author was, I wanted to be one.
* "Things Fall Apart" is still the most widely-read novel by an African author, so Professor Achebe, sitting in his wheelchair, remains a total badass.