Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

buchi emecheta

Following the passing of Buchi Emecheta on January 26 at the age of 72, there has been an outburst of beautiful, heartfelt tributes to a woman considered to be an icon in her personal and professional lives. Nigerian novelist Sefi Atta wrote this solid one in KTravula. Read an excerpt below.

sefi-atta

Sefi Atta, author of Everything Good Will Come.

The first time I met Buchi Emecheta in person was in 2005, just after my debut novel Everything Good Will Come was published. I had contacted her through an old college mate, Kadija George, to ask for an endorsement, which she very kindly agreed to give. To paraphrase her endorsement, she wrote that reading my novel was like listening to an old friend talk about Lagos.

That was the same year she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to literature, and Kadija organised a celebratory dinner at a Caribbean restaurant in North London, to which I was invited. At the restaurant, she signed a copy of her book Head Above Water for me, with a message: “To Sefi, good luck with your publication, love from Auntie Buchi”. I read an excerpt from the book at today’s memorial event, not just because it’s autographed, but because it’s a testimony of what it means to be a writing mother, and because it’s good storytelling: entertaining and informative, guileless and revealing, intimate, and rendered in the meandering fashion of Igbo oral history, which, by the way, bears some resemblance to that of the American South, where I’m based most of the year.

Anyway, that evening at the restaurant, I found Buchi Emecheta pensive. I imagined she was aware of her achievements and was proud of them: all the novels, plays and children’s books she’d written, the family she had raised, and the obstacles she’d had to overcome. People often mention the burning of her first manuscript, but the daily grind of being a mother to young children, while getting a university degree and writing, was hard enough.

Read “Like Listening to an Aunt” in KTravula.

Tags: , ,

About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award for which he was shortlisted ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017). His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He is the curator of the ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016), focuses on cities in Nigeria. The second, WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied History and Literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies and Pop Culture, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

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.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

What Do You Say When You’re Leaving? | Sochi Azuh | Poetry

sochi poetry

  You liked the tease of an open door drawing you in To the rumour of something less complicated than […]

This Essay Collection is a South Africa-Inspired Feminist Anthem for All Women

feminism is thorpe

In the era of #metoo and #timesup, we are, more than ever before, in need of writing that deepens our […]

WATCH | Feyisayo Anjorin’s Novel, Kasali’s Africa, Has Book Trailers

Kasali's Africa Cover

Feyisayo Anjorin’s new novel Kasali’s Africa has a book trailer. A book trailer does what a film trailer does: offer […]

Writing in Migration | Photos from the Festival of African Writers in Berlin

WIM 2018 (12)

Last month, the Nigerian-German novelist Olumide Popoola, author of When We Speak of Nothing, curated a star-studded festival of African writers in […]

In Poetry: Prizes and Politics | Ebenezer Agu

brunel 2018 shortlist

Right after the Brunel International African Poetry Prize released its 2018 shortlist, a friend walked into my Facebook inbox to […]

EVENT | Poets In Nigeria 2018 NSPP Awards Ceremony at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu

IMG-20180502-WA0001

Poets in Nigeria (PIN), which runs the Nigerian Students’ Poetry Prize (NSPP), will be holding its 2018 Awards Ceremony at […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.