Tsitsi Dangarembga thrilled as 'Nervous Conditions' makes it into Top 100 books

HARARE - Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga said she has been reminded of the kindness of people after her book Nervous Conditions made it to the BBC’s top 100 of books that shaped the world.

“I’m overwhelmed by all the wonderful congratulatory messages I’ve received on the inclusion of Nervous Conditions in the BBC 100 books that most shaped the world list. Thank you, all. It is lovely to be reminded  how kind we are in our hearts. Be blessed, everybody!” she wrote on her Twitter account just after the list was published.

The book,which won the African category of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1989, was placed at number 66.

It illustrates and interrogates the dynamic themes of race, colonialism, and gender during the post-colonial conditions of present-day Zimbabwe, and is considered one of the 12 best African novels ever written.

Other great African literary works on the BBC’s 100 list included Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart which was placed in the top 5.

Achebe passed away in 2013, but his works continue to make headlines and Things Fall Apart (1958) was his first novel.

1. The Odyssey (Homer, 8th Century BC), 2. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852), 3. Frankenstein (Mary Shelley, 1818), 4. Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell, 1949), 5. Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe, 1958), 6. One Thousand and One Nights (various authors, 8th-18th Centuries), 7. Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes, 1605-1615), 8. Hamlet (William Shakespeare, 1603), 9. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez, 1967), 10. The Iliad (Homer, 8th Century BC)

“To assemble a list of the 100 stories that shaped the world you need a global perspective. The book lovers who contributed to BBC Culture’s poll hail from 35 different countries — from Uganda and Pakistan to Colombia and China — and only 51 percent claim English as their ‘mother tongue’. These critics, scholars and journalists who voted were 59 percent female, 40 percent male,” the BBC said.

“We received answers from 108 authors, academics, journalists, critics and translators in 35 countries — their choices took in novels, poems, folk tales and dramas in 33 different languages, including Sumerian, K’iche and Ge’ez.”

BBC Culture says the list is not definitive but its aim is “to spark a conversation about why some stories endure; how they continue to resonate centuries and millennia after they were created. And why sharing those stories is a fundamental human impulse: one that can overcome division, inspire change, and even spark revolutions”.

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