BY OSA AMADI
Chinua Achebe (16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013) is as tall and huge as an Iroko tree on the global literary scene. Similarly, his classic novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), is one of, if not the most successful piece of literary works that sprouted from the mind of an African.
The year 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of Achebe’s masterpiece, Things Fall Apart, and the world, led by the Christie and Chinua Achebe Foundation in collaboration with Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) is sparing nothing in celebrating Chinua Achebe and Things Fall Apart with a colloquium and other literary activities in Nigeria and 10 other African countries: Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, Togo and Cameroon, scheduled to have their activities between February and December 2018.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Things Fall Apart: 60 years on,” and the colloquium is proposed to be a five-city transnational event in Nigeria and the other countries with a number of activities ranging from symposia to children’s carnival, writing competition, stage presentations of Things Fall Apart and a grand finale with a night of tributes.
In Nigeria, those activities will hold in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Sokoto with the grand finale at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, while the appropriate centers in the other countries will be confirmed later.
Apart from foreign writers and scholars, notable Africa-based writers and scholars will also be invited to present papers and talks.
A five-man Africa Organizsing Committee to be headed by Dr Wale Okediran, former National President, Association of Nigerian Authors will oversee the organisation of the event in Nigeria and other African countries, while Local Organising Committees in the five centers in Nigeria and other African countries will also be appointed.
A literary competition among secondary school students in the five centers will be organised with provision of copies of Things Fall Apart for the students to read for one month before the day of the literary competition which will involve quiz, reading comprehension and one-act dramatic enactment of any part of the book by participating schools.
The colloquium has been slated in Nigeria from February to August 2018 while other African countries will fix their own celebration between January and December 2018.
In Nigeria, collaborations will be done with the Association of Nigerian Authors at the national level and through its local branches where the events are billed to hold as well as tertiary institutions such as University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, University of Abuja, Othman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
For the international conference, the Christie and Chinua Achebe Foundation invite abstracts for 15 – 20 minute presentations to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Things Fall Apart. This will be a platform for students, writers, scholars, literary critics and other interested parties to engage, rethink and propose possible new directions for African literature after 60 years of Things Fall Apart.