Chinua Achebe may left us but his legacy lingers, still.
BBC Culture recently asked writers all over the world to select stories that transcend history and have endured changing societies and generational shifts. The Iconic Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart made the top 5 stories that shaped the world.
This is not the first time that Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart has made such a list recently. Earlier this month, Things Fall Apart was named among the 12 Greatest Books Ever Written revealed by Encyclopedia Britannica.
Things Fall Apart is set in pre-colonial Nigeria and discusses the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century through the eyes of key Igbo villages, shedding the spotlight on culture clashes, traditional values and belief systems, and traditional masculinity.
Other stories by Africans on the BBC Culture’s 100 Stories list include Nervous Conditions by Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, and Children of Gebelawi by Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz. Nervous Conditions, which ranks 66th on the BBC list, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Africa region) in 1989 and is considered one of the 12 best African novels ever written. The novel illustrates and interrogates the dynamic themes of race, colonialism, and gender during the post-colonial conditions of present-day Zimbabwe.
Children of Gebelawi claims the 76th spot on the list. Naguib Mahfouz won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature for his works which were described as rich in nuance and which “formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind”. Mahfouz was the second African writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, after our dear own Wole Soyinka had won it two years earlier (1986).
In compiling this shortlist, BBC Culture commented thus, “We received answers from 108 authors, academics, journalists, critics and translators in 35 countries – their choices took in novels, poems, folk tales and dramas in 33 different languages.”
This list, according to BBC Culture, is not definitive, but aims to “to spark a conversation about why some stories endure; how they continue to resonate centuries and millennia after they were created. And why sharing those stories is a fundamental human impulse: one that can overcome division, inspire change, and even spark revolutions.”
Have you read Things Fall Apart? Do you agree with BBC? Tell me in the comments section.
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