BOOKNEWS One of 12 greatest books ever written
Things Fall Apart
Things Fall Apart, the best-known work of the late Nigerian literary icon Chinua Achebe (pictured), this week made it on to a list of 12 of the “greatest books ever written” published by Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Achebe’s novel joins a list of titles that includes Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.
Things Fall Apart, first published in 1958, has been translated into 57 languages and was one of the first modern African novels to receive global critical acclaim.
The story is based on precolonial life in Nigeria and the arrival of the European colonisers. The title of the book was taken from the poem The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats. The novel is widely considered to be a milestone in African literature and has been used as a setwork in schools across the continent, including South Africa. Achebe, who was recognised for his outstanding contribution to African literature, won the Man Booker International Prize in 2007. He died in 2013.
The Woman Next Door
The Woman Next Door, published by Penguin Random House South Africa in 2016 was written by Yewande Omotoso, and is one of 10 titles to be short-listed for “the world’s richest book prize”, the International Dublin Literary Award. Omotoso was born in Barbados, grew up in Nigeria and lives in South Africa. Last year the novel was also short-listed for the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize and long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The winner of the Dublin award will be announced on June 13 and is worth a whopping £100 000 (about R1.5 million), often described as the richest annual prize for fiction in the world.
“The titles on this year’s short list were nominated by public libraries in Canada, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the US,” said Dublin’s Lord Mayor Ardmhéara, Mícheál Mac Donncha, patron of the award.
The Woman Next Door is a compelling story about the complexities of two neighbours, one white and one black.
The women, recently widowed, are sworn enemies and are brought together by unforeseen circumstances.
City Press reviewed the novel in 2016 and said of the book: “In her second novel, Yewande Omotoso weaves the layers of the main characters’ personal narratives throughout the story delicately and deliberately, in a way that can only be truly appreciated after reading the last page.”
Kingsmead Book Fair
The annual Kingsmead Book Fair will be taking place on May 12 and will include authors Yewande Omotoso (pictured) (The Woman Next Door), Sizwe MpofuWalsh (Democracy & Delusion), Fred Khumalo (Dancing the Death Drill), Jacques Pauw (The President’s Keepers), Mandy Wiener (Ministry of Crime) and Angela Makholwa (The Blessed Girl), to name but a few.
A series of engaging and stimulating workshops and panel discussions are going to be held with the authors and there will be a wide variety of food vendors to cater for the diverse literary food palates.
Some of the facilitators include publisher and author Melinda Ferguson (Crashed: How Trashing a Ferrari Saved My Life), Eusebius McKaiser (Run Racist Run: Journeys Into the Heart of Racism) and Sarah Jayne-King (Killing Karoline). For more information and to book tickets, go to kingsmead.co.za/bookfair.