Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart recently named one of 12 novels considered “the Greatest Book Ever Written” on the list compiled by Encyclopaedia Brittanica has been selected as one of 100 books that will be featured in The Great American Read.

Also selected on the The Great American Read list is Achebe’s compatriot Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestselling book ‘Americanah’.

Achebe’s first novel Things Fall Apart (1958) is widely considered his magnum opus, and is the most widely read book in modern African literature. Things Fall Apart is regarded as an important novel and one of the greatest classics of our time.  The story chronicles the pre-colonial life in Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century.  The novel interrogates the clash of cultures, traditional values and belief systems.

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Adichie’s third novel “Americanah” received praise from critics across the world and won numerous awards. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and was named one of The New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year. It was selected as the first-year summer reading assignment for Duke’s Class of 2018. It comes as no surprise that Adichie’s masterpiece makes it on the list of 100 Books to feature on The Great American Read series.

The Great American Read is an eight-part television series whose primary objective to ignite debate about reading and the books that have had an impact on the world. The series is designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books.

African writer
Chinua Achebe had his book Things Fall Apart published in 1958. It is one of the most widely read book from the continent. Photo: Facebook/Chinua Achebe

Viewers will then vote on their favourite novel from a list of 100 books, chosen through a demographically diverse survey.

According to PBS, the series “celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey).  It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience”.

“The television series features entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. It is comprised of a two-hour launch episode in which the list of 100 books is revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results are announced of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book”.    

The premiere of The Great American Read will be aired on May 22nd. See the full list of 100 books here.