Taking a Fresh Look

Article excerpt

In an interview with CNN.com, Princeton University professor Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah said: "It would be impossible to say how Things Fall Apart influenced African writing. It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers or Pushkin influenced Russians. Achebe didn't only play the game, he invented it."

Appiah, who wrote the introduction to the Everyman's Library edition to Things Fall Apart, is not alone in his assessment of the significance of this novel that is called an "instant classic," a "literary masterpiece."

The book and its author, Chinua Achebe, are experiencing renewed praise and interest as this year marks the 50th anniversary of Things Fall Apart.

In "Revisiting a Classic" Diverse correspondent Ibram Rogers pro vides a comprehensive look at the book's impact on modern African fiction and African writers.

Says Dr. Isidore Okpewho, a Nigerian novelist and State University of New York at Binghamton professor: There is an "innumerable list of writers and critics--including myself--who have been inspired to contribute to the growth of African literature and make it a force to be reckoned with among the literary achievements of mankind. I doubt that we could have done this without Achebe's bold and pioneering work."

"It has contributed more than any other single book in establishing both the Ibo and the African continent as a normal society, a society of culture, tradition, law and government," says Obiwu Iwuanyanwu, director of the writing center at Central State University, who has written extensively on Achebe.

There are events planned all around the world to honor Achebe and the novel he wrote as a 26-year-old English teacher in Nigeria. …