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Things Fall Apart

Read by Rounke Williams

Chinua Achebe’s first and most famous novel, Things Fall Apart reclaims African culture from the stereotyped images of savagery that inhabit colonial European literature. This ‘novel of the century’ has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide.

Achebe is regarded by many as the first major novelist from the continent – he draws on oral storytelling techniques and myth to explore what happens when European and African worlds meet as the British colonise Igboland in Nigeria.

Things Fall Apart is the story of Okonkwo Unoka, who leads resistance to British imperialism and missionaries.

His work is read by Rounke Williams. 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 writes and re-writes Yoruba folktales and her stories have been published by Liverpool Museums, in African Love Stories: an Anthology (Ayebia 2006) and The Map of Me: True Tales of Mixed Heritage Experience (Penguin 2008). She writes her creative non-fiction under a pseudonym.


Rounke Williams | talks


Date and Time:

22 May 2009 at 1:00 pm


1 hour



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