Yes, Nigerian novel Things Fall Apart is on Encyclopedia Britannica list of notable books

Various articles, like this one, claim that Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart, has been “named one of the 12 novels considered the ‘greatest books ever written’”. This news was also shared here and here.

According to the reports, Encyclopaedia Britannica compiled the list.

Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, is the story of an Igbo man living in a village in Nigeria and documents the effects of British colonialism from the perspective of the colonised.

Encyclopedia Britannica’s full list and article, written by former editorial intern Jonathan Hogeback, can be viewed here. Things Fall Apart is the tenth book on the list. 

According to his LinkedIn profile, Hogeback graduated from high school in 2014. He was an intern at Encyclopaedia Britannica for four months in 2016. 

While a number of the articles advertising that Achebe’s novel made it on to the Encyclopaedia Britannica list seem to think this is proof that Things Fall Apart is definitively “the greatest book ever written”, Hogeback was more cautious in his original article. 

He wrote: “Here is a list of 12 novels that, for various reasons, have been considered some of the greatest works of literature ever written.”

While there is little debate about Achebe’s credentials or the enduring acclaim about his book, the claim about it being among the ‘greatest’ would still fall into the realm of opinion. Butchie Seroto


 

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