Monday, July 30, 2012

Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart' Translated Into Persian

Translated into Persian by Ali Hodavand, Things Fall Apart a novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has been released in Iran.

 Things Fall Apart is an English-language novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe published in 1958. It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, and one of the first African novels written in English to receive global critical acclaim.

Chinua Achebe
It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. The title of the novel comes from William Butler Yeats's poem "The Second Coming".
The novel depicts the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia—one of a fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria, inhabited by the Igbo people (archaically, and in the novel, "Ibo"). It focuses on his family and personal history, the customs and society of the Igbo, and the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo community during the late nineteenth century.The novel is studied widely in Europe and North America, where it has spawned numerous secondary and tertiary analytical works. It has achieved similar status and repute in India, Australia and Oceania. Considered Achebe's magnum opus, it has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. Time Magazine included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. The novel has been translated into more than fifty languages, and is often used in literature, world history, and African studies courses across the world.The Persian translation of Things Fall Apart has been released in 1650 copies by Jeyhoon publications.

Chinua Achebe was born in Nigeria in 1930. He was raised in the large village of Ogidi, one of the first centers of Anglican missionary work in Eastern Nigeria, and is a graduate of University College, Ibadan. His early career in radio ended abruptly in 1966, when he left his post as Director of External Broadcasting in Nigeria during the national upheaval that led to the Biafran War. Achebe joined the Biafran Ministry of Information and represented Biafra on various diplomatic and fund-raising missions. He was appointed Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and began lecturing widely abroad. For over fifteen years, he was the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. He is now the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and professor of Africana studies at Brown University.

Chinua Achebe has written over twenty books – novels, short stories, essays and collections of poetry. His latest work There was a country – A personal history of Biafra will be available from Penguin publishers in September. Achebe has received numerous honours from around the world, including the Honourary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as honourary doctorates from more than forty colleges and universities. He is also the recipient of Nigeria's highest award for intellectual achievement, the Nigerian National Merit Award; the Peace Prize of the German Book trade (Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels) in 2002; the Man Booker International Prize for Fiction in 2007; and the Gish Prize in 2010.

Soyinka’s Utterance Against Me Is “Aggravated Libel” – Maja-Pearce

Interview With Adewale Maja-Pearce


Wole Soyinka

How would you describe your experience so far in Nigeria’s book industry?

I’m right now a consultant for Evans. Evans bought over Nelson Publishers and they want to develop together a literary series. I told them we shouldn’t leave the foreign publishers to be publishing Nigerian writers. Some of these old publishing houses publish textbooks for schools. We are ready to publish six papers every year. Instead of waiting for other series, let’s publish the first two so we would generate interest. We would begin to launch our first papers in November at the Lagos Book Fair that is run by Toyin Akinosho. We have to make things happen in Nigeria. Apart from that I have a small publishing company since 2005 called New Gong. So that is really a small fascinating publishing house we have and we don’t physically publish books. We load up a book and then they print, sell it as Print On Demand (POD). We don’t have probably any physical book in Nigeria. If you want to buy it you have to go online to purchase the book. The only problem we have in Nigeria is distribution because in small developed country like South Africa and even in America, the publisher is not involved in selling the book. The publisher goes to train that we have so, so and so copies, bla, bla, bla. So the train has bookshops all over the countries and they will distribute it. So the publisher doesn’t know how they sell the books; we don’t have that in Nigeria.

Adewale Maja-Pearce

Let’s talk about the POD you spoke about. Judging by probably what you have been able to put together, what would you advise an author that wishes to publish through such medium too?

Anybody can do it. If you simply go to our site, there is an icon in the site called ‘create space.’ When the book is ready you upload it, the cover and the inside pages. They will give you a file page so that every of your work will be filed. What you see about a week is your book on our site. We print and sell as requested. And it is a big advantage, a very big one.

There is this rumour that you have some personal grudges with Wole Soyinka over your comments in your review on one of his books. It was even gathered that you were exchanging abusive words publicly. Can you throw more light into this?

Grudge! No! I first met Soyinka shortly after he won the Nobel Prize because I used to work for a magazine in London called Index On Censorship. I was their African editor from 1983 to 1997. So, before I joined, Soyinka had already been published by them and also had written for them. He was familiar with the magazine. So when I joined, I told him, “I am the new African editor. I hope you will continue with us.” We have a means he used to send us materials; we had a good working relationship. The problem came when he published You Must Set Forth At Dawn. I was asked by the London Review of Books to review it. I didn’t like the book so I gave my reasons. So, when it came out people told me that Soyinka didn’t take it kindly with criticism. I was just working for a magazine anyway. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Police Officer Threatens To Shoot Michelle Obama

A Washington D.C. police officer who allegedly threatened to shoot the United States First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama, has been removed from his unit. He is being investigated by the Secret Service.  
The officer who reportedly issued the threat during a Wednesday July 11, 2012 morning roll call in the presence of his colleagues while they discussed threats against the Obamas has been reassigned to the  administrative section pending the outcome of investigations. A senior officer who heard him voice the threat had reported him to their superior.  

According the Washington Post, the officer "allegedly said he would shoot the First Lady and then used his phone to retrieve a picture of the firearm he said he would use" to show his colleagues.  

Before his redeployment, the officer worked as a motorcycle escort to White House officials and visiting dignitaries.  

Reports say the Secret Service is trying hard to downplay the incident.

“Pump the brakes on this one” a Secret Service official told NBC.

"We're aware of it and taking the appropriate steps," another official of the Service told 

The name of the officer who issued the death threat is yet to be released by the Metropolitan Police Department.

There has not been any response from the White House on the incident.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Should Math Determine Who Can Read English In Nigerian Universities?

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye  
Great expectations are usually piled on our universities as very essential intellectual factories for the production of reliable human resources for achieving our lofty dreams and aspirations as a people. That is what it should be. Every year, the universities are expected to give the country quality graduates whose formal education and other forms of grooming ought to duly equip with sound intellectual, psychological and even ethical properties to assume very important and strategic positions in both private and public institutions for the advancement of national development.  
*Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
But what appears to be seriously in doubt now is whether the National Universities Commission (NUC), could still be considered a reliable ally in this aspiration, either because it has run out of quality ideas, or it is being savagely influenced by some unwholesome sentiments within its ranks to, in fact, brazenly sabotage this grand expectation.  It is tragically surprising that we have had to sit passively and watch a handful of men and women that constitute the NUC churn out a cocktail of clearly misguided policies whose only benefit is their ability to effectively erect uncrossable mountains before otherwise brilliant students and promote devastating mediocrity in the university system, with far-reaching implications to the larger society. While several local and foreign observers are bemoaning the quality of the graduates our universities are turning out these days, the NUC is busy compounding the problem by formulating policies that can only further devalue the degrees awarded in Nigeria.   

I wish to examine one of the most offensive and pernicious of these policies, and I would like to begin with an illustration.  A young girl who chose English Studies as a course of study sat for the last Unified Tertiary  Matriculations Examinations (UTME), and passed very well. She went to her university of choice, sat for the Post-UTME tests and performed brilliantly and was offered admission by the university. But when she packed her bags and went to the university to register in order to commence her programme, she met a brick wall. Even though that university had stated in the JAMB brochure that it required a pass in Mathematics to admit students to study English, she was now told at the departmental office that only a credit in Mathematics would qualify her for an admission. Okay, she would be considered if she had a credit in a science subject.  That is what the 'almighty' NUC has decreed.  

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