Sixty years after the first edition of Things Fall Apart was released, the book’s reputation continues to soar with critical acclaim and recognition coming from diverse climes and cultures of the world. Often described as the greatest piece of literature to come out of Africa, the novel which was set in colonial Nigeria, and has appeared in 50 languages, was recently translated into Irish by the wife of the former Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Irene Lynch.
By this addition, the book‘s reputation as one of the world’s most widely translated works of fiction remains intact. To mark the arrival of “Titleann Rudai as a Cheile” which is the latest translation of Things Fall Apart, Dr Uzoma Emenike, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ireland hosted members of the diplomatic community and lovers of Achebe’s works to a gathering that showcased the best of African literary harvest.
Speaking to the audience which included the Nigerian community and diasporan Africans, Dr Emenike eulogised Chinua Achebe for his great literary works and commended Mrs Lynch for sustaining the legacy through her translation of the book.
The translator, who said she fell in love with the works of Chinua Achebe when she encountered his “Anthills of the Savannah”, said the job gave her a deep sense of fulfilment and was hopeful that “Titleann Rudai as a Cheile” will bring enlightenment and knowledge to her native Irish readers.
Chinua Achebe, often described as the greatest figure of the 20th Century African literature, wrote his magnum opus, Things Fall Apart in 1958, in response to the depiction of Nigeria in “Mr Johnson” by Joyce Cary, an Irish novelist. The title of the work itself was taken from a line in the poem, “The Second Coming”, by another Irish writer, William Butler Yeats.