The first book by Nigerian born writer Chinua Achebe I read was “When Things Fall Apart,” which tells the story of a Nigerian tribe at the turn of the 19th century who are on the verge of having their lives changed forever with the entry of white colonizers into the African heartland. The book is one that takes the reader right into an African village, into the midst of their traditions and customs, their everyday struggles which, though far far-fetched from ours, make us connect at once with the people.
Since then I’ve been a great admirer of the great African writer and has read another of his books called, “A man of the people.” Reading it, it almost felt like a Sri Lankan story.
So when I read yesterday that Chinua Achebe had passed away at the age of 82, it was a poignant feeling.
Great writers in Achebe will never really die because their writings live on forever and continue to inspire and entertain many more generations of writers.’
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Lives of great men all remind us; we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time. Achebe has done just that.
Salman Rushdie’s book Midnight’s Children won him many literary awards including the Best of Booker, a one-off celebratory award to mark the 40th anniversary of the Booker Prize in 2010. But as he reveals in his memoir titled “Joseph Anton”, getting the book made into movie version was a long drawn out and frustrating struggle. Sri Lanka was picked as the location to shoot it , initially in the form of a television series and later as a movie, but with politics getting in the way, one project as shelved while the second one was concluded despite several hiccups on the way.
Here is a link to the story I wrote for the Sunday Times on how Midnight’s Children finally reached the big screen.