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The Nigerian novelist and playwright Buchi Emecheta has passed on at the age of 72. Born in 1944, the much beloved icon was one of the most influential black writers of the latter half of the twenty-first century.

Often described as “the first successful black woman novelist living in Britain after 1948,” she made her debut with the 1972 novel In the Ditch, but is most famous for The Joys of Motherhood (1979), Second-Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), Destination Biafra (1982), and the Jock Campbell Award-winning The Slave Girl (1977). She was the author of more than twenty books, including the autobiography Head Above Water (1986) and children’s books. A critic also, she made indelible impact on the feminist discourse, particularly with her widely-quoted essay, “Feminism with a Small ‘f!’ Criticism and Ideology,” while also refusing to describe herself as “feminist.”

“I will work towards the liberation of women,” she is quoted as saying, “but I am not a feminist, I’m just a woman.” She also noted: “Black women all over the world should re-unite and re-examine the way history has portrayed us.”

Her other novels include: The Moonlight Bride (1976), Our Own Freedom (1981), Naira Power (1982), The Rape of Shavi (1984), Double Yoke (1983), A Kind of Marriage (1986), Gwendolen (1989), Kehinde (1994), The New Tribe (1999).

News of her passing has drawn an outpouring of kind and celebratory remarks about the author her work.

Award winning novelist Chimamanda Adichie shared a short poem on Facebook in which she calls attention to Emecheta’s pioneering role.

Buchi Emecheta.
We are able to speak because you first spoke.
Thank you for your courage.
Thank you for your art.
Nodu na ndokwa.

~CNA

“We have lost a rare gem,” the president of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Denja Abdullahi, said. “It is a sad loss for our circle. She was known for championing the female gender and we would forever miss her.”

 

 

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Post image via Black British Women Writers

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young was shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Morland Scholarship. His story, "Mulumba," appears in The Threepenny Review and his Transition story, “A Tenderer Blessing,” was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His story, "You Sing of a Longing," is currently on the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award shortlist. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and Brittle Paper where he is Submissions Editor. He edited Enter Naija—The Book of Places, an anthology of writing, photography and visual art about places in Nigeria created to mark Nigeria’s 56th Independence anniversary. A lecturer at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, he blogs popular culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com.

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  1. “Thank You for Your Courage” | African Writers Pay Tribute to Buchi Emecheta | The Nigerian Eye Newspaper: Breaking news in Nigeria as well as Nigerian News, ghana news, information and opinion on sports, business, politics and more from Nigeria's mo - 2017/01/31

    […] January 26, Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta passed away at the age of 72. [read here if you missed it.] Fellow authors took to social media to celebrate her life and the significance […]

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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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