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100 graphic designers from 28 countries teamed up to redesign the covers of 100 classic novels of all time. Of the hundred novels featured, two are African: Achebe’s  Things Fall Apart and Waiting for the barbarian written by South Africa’s J. M. Coetzee.

The organizers say the cover redesign were made with “contemporary trends in design and illustration” in mind. View the complete online gallery is HERE.

Achebe - Doedemee

Artist, Stephen Krohn writes:

I remember “Things Fall Apart” back from my university days. We had great class conversations about this masterpiece. Chinua Achebe recreated a world where I could totally immerse myself. His world possesses beauty and culture, yet he also shows the realities of living in Nigeria during the colonial period. It is the type of book that made me want to go out into the world, not just to travel, but to live in a world that offers new perspectives. The title “Things Fall Apart” is so beautifully literal. I felt I needed to be faithful to its title without being cliché.

Coetzee - Doedemee1

Artist,  Sarah Wouters writes:

“‘Barbarians are a silly thing if you think about it, and yet still today they represent the anxiety we all have when confronted with the unknown (here they come!!!). I wanted simply to illustrate how ridiculous those stereotypes are and make fun of what isn’t really scary at all.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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Kenyan author Ngugi wa ThiongÕo, Distinguished Professor of English and comparative literature at UC Irvine, is on the short list for the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature, for xxx(add phrase or blurb here from award announcement; 

Chancellor quote? Christine writing and getting approved quote).

Ngugi, whose name is pronounced ÒGoogyÓ and means Òwork,Ó is a prolific writer of novels, plays, essays and childrenÕs literature. Many of these have skewered the harsh sociopolitical conditions of post-Colonial Kenya, where he was born, imprisoned by the government and forced into exile.

His recent works have been among his most highly acclaimed and include what some consider his finest novel, ÒMurogi wa KagogoÓ (ÒWizard of the CrowÓ), a sweeping 2006 satire about globalization that he wrote in his native Gikuyu language. In his 2009 book ÒSomething Torn & New: An African Renaissance,Ó Ngugi argues that a resurgence of African languages is necessary to the restoration of African wholeness.

ÒI use the novel form to explore issues of wealth, power and values in society and how their production and organization in society impinge on the quality of a peopleÕs spiritual life,Ó he has said.

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