Buchi Emecheta is an award-winning Nigerian Writer, respected for her creativity and Afrocentric novels. The renowned Writer turned 71 on July 21, 2015.
Born in Lagos to Igbo parents, Emecheta got married at age of 16 and immigrated with her husband to London in 1962. It was an unhappy and sometimes violent marriage (as chronicled in her autobiographical writings such as Second-Class Citizen), and within a period of six years, she gave birth to her first five children. To keep her sanity, Emecheta wrote in her spare time; however, her husband was deeply suspicious of her writing, and he ultimately burned her first manuscript. At the age of 22, Emecheta left her husband. While working to support her five children alone, she earned a BSc degree in Sociology at the University of London.
She began writing about her experiences of Black British life in a regular column in the New Statesman, and a collection of these pieces became her first published book in 1972, In the Ditch.
Buchi Emecheta’s works focus largely on child slavery, motherhood, female independence through education, and are also based on her own experiences as both a single parent and a black woman living in Britain.
Her works have earned her a number of honours and awards, including an Order of the British Empire (2005), New Statesman Jock Campbell Award for The Slave Girl (1979), Best Black British Writer (1978), One of Granta′s Best of the Young British Novelists (1983).
She views her writing as the “release for all my anger, all my bitterness, my disappointments, my questions and my joy.” Her advice to black women – “Black women all over the world should re-unite and re-examine the way history has portrayed us.”
Here are some randomly selected works by the celebrated novelist:
The Bride Price (1976): The fictional story weaves in the theme of male dominance and women’s compliance to men, as it focuses on the problems of women in post-colonial Nigeria.
The Joys of Motherhood (1979): The theme of the novel dwells on women and feminity. It also provides excellent insight to the effects of colonialism on native Nigerians.
Adah’s Story (1983): Adah’s Story includes Buchi Emecheta’s first two books – In the Ditch (1972) and Second-Class Citizen (1974). The book introduce Emecheta’s three major themes: the quests for equal treatment, self-confidence, and dignity as a woman.
Head Above Water (1986) – Head Above Water is Buchi Emecheta’s autobiography that spans the transition from a tribal childhood in the African bush to life in North London as an internationally acclaimed writer.
Gwendolen (1989) – Gwendolen is Emecheta’s 10th novel. It also addresses the issues of immigrant life in Great Britain.