Late Professor Chinua Achebe was 28 years old and was a staff of Nigeria broadcasting corporation when he wrote his first and groundbreaking novel “Things fall apart”. He sent the hand written manuscript alongside the customary ₤22 fee to a company in London for typing. The manuscript was ignored.
After waiting for many months without getting a reply from the company, he informed his boss at work who was leaving for her annual leave in London and asked her to visit the office. She did. She stormed the office and found the manuscript lying at a corner of the office, ignored. She demanded to know why they ignored the manuscript.
The company apologized and days after the visit, they quickly sent a typed copy to Achebe. On the recommendation of his friend, he sent the typed copy to an agent who sent it to publishing firms in London. Many publishers in London rejected it claiming that African fiction had no market potential. Only Heinemann books agreed to publish 2,000 copies. Three days after publication, the book was received with positive reviews from the British press.
When the publisher brought things fall apart by Chinua Achebe to West Africa for promotion, he was met with skepticism and ridicule. The professors and members of the faculty at the University of Ibadan had a good laugh. They thought it funny that a former student of University of Ibadan could write a valuable novel.
Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe went on to become the most important and most widely read book in African modern Literature. It sold 8 million copies around the world and was translated into 50 languages. The novel bestowed on Achebe the title of “Father of African literature” and inspired a generation of African writers who joined Achebe in showing the rest of the world that Africans had a culture and tradition.
The author went on to write many other novels and books. However, whenever the name Chinua Achebe comes up, the first thing that comes to your mind is “Things fall apart”. The novel was his big break.
You don’t need to do many things, you many just need to focus on one particular area, field, skill, career, etc. Be consistent in it and with God on your side, that big break will come, (Chinua Achebe had been writing short stories and poems as an undergraduate in the university of Ibadan), that big break that will make you settled for life.
Iniobong Leroi Umoh is a storyteller, a satirist and creative writer. He blurs the line between reality and fiction and seeks to create a connection with the reader through engaging content. His works have been featured across various online and offline platforms. He hopes to one day travel around the world on a luxury yacht, sipping expensive wine and documenting all his experiences in a journal.
You can send him a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.