Things Fall Apart reading – Fabrica gallery

Last Friday I went to a reading of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart by Rounke Williams at Fabrica in Brighton.

If you haven’t read Things Fall Apart I’d definitely recommend it – it’s one of the seminal texts in the postcolonial canon (if there can really be said to be such a thing) and an unassuming, but very powerful, look at colonial relations.

Rounke Williams’ bio on the Fabrica site says – ‘Born of mixed parentage (Nigerian/British), Rounke grew up in Lagos and studied Achebe’s novels at school. As her father was one of the newly educated classes that took over after independence in 1960, these books held more than an objective fascination for her. The fact that her mother was from the country of the colonisers, provided extra depth to her reading of these classics. Rounke came to the UK in 1978 to finish her formal education. From 2000, she facilitated the development of resources for Brighton and Hove local authority on cultural diversity for school children.’ She is also a writer, and has stories published in African Love Stories: An Anthology and The Map of Me: True Tales of Mixed Heritage Experience. Rounke’s passion for Nigerian literature as a whole, not just Achebe, was really energising – she prepared a brilliant reading list (which I’ll repeat in brief below) which has provided me with a load more books to look out for and also reminded me of how many authors go out of print or fail to make it to print in this country.

Being fairly familiar with the text already, it was was great to discuss it and share ideas – something I hadn’t realised that I’d missed since I finished university last year. However, what I enjoyed most was listening to it being read aloud. Rounke proved to be a great storyteller, which is a rare thing – I think I could have listened to her read the whole novel. Some texts seem to just blossom when you hear them – I always read poetry out loud (or mutter it under my breath, depending on where I am!) and I’m wondering now why I don’t do it with novels more often. Someone at the reading also alerted me to a great resource called LibriVox – which provides free audiobooks to download, as read by enthusiastic volunteers. I haven’t given it try yet, but I’ll report back when I have.

Anyway, here’s Rounke’s (non-exhaustive) Nigerian literature reading list – I’ve tried to include relevant links where possible.

(I’ll try and add to and improve these links when I’ve got a bit more time)


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