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Buchi Emechata (Onyebuchi Florence Emechata)


Encyclopedia » Biography » Authors/Writer
Nigeria

A great writer, whose work focuses on sexual politics and racial prejudice, her contribution to both society and literature is immense. 

Welcome to Logbaby’s Biography of Buchi Emechata.

 


SUMMARY

Name: Onyebuchi Florence Emecheta

Pen or Nickname: Buchi Emecheta

Date of Birth: July 21st, 1944

Relationship Status: Married

Occupation: Novelist

 


INTRODUCTION

Onyebuchi Emechata (OBE) is a Nigerian Novelist and feminist. Her works not only show the plight of Women as immigrants and in the African society but also potrays femininity.

She holds the British title of OBE (meaning Order of the British Empire). She is respected as the first (post 1948) successful black female novelist.

EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION

Emecheta was born on 21st July, 1944, in Yaba Lagos to Alice Ogbanje (nee Okwuekwuhe) and Jeremy Nwabudinke Emecheta, Both from Ibusa, Delta State, Nigeria. Her father was a railway worker in the 1940s as a molder.

Buchi was kept at home due to cultural gender restrictions while her brother went to school but after persuading her parents she was sent to an all-girls’ missionary school. At a young age of 9 her father was killed while fighting for the British in Burma and Buchi was sent to lagos to study at Methodist Girls High School. In 1960, at age 17 she married Sylvester Onwordi who she has been engaged to since age 11. Part of her eagerness to marry stemed from her desire to go and study in the "white man's land" as her father dreamed. Her husband Onwordi soon moved to London to study Accounting and Buchi would bear 2 children in Nigeria before later joining him in 1962.

Owing to her husbands status as a student the family managed very meager means and poor living conditons. 

 

WRITING BEGINS

She dreamed of writing from an early age, prompted by an aunt who told her stories after dinner.

As the family struggled after marriage Buchi worked as a library officer at the British Museum and gave birth to 3 children in addition to the 2 she already had. It is also around this time that Emecheta started writing. 

She had a violent and bitter marriage as a result of the ceaseless battering from her husband and so to keep her sanity she started writing in her spare time. When she unveiled her writing to her husband, he was not happy with her writing and so he burned her first manuscript.

At age 22 Buchi left her husband and while working to raise her 5 children alone, earned a B.sc in Sociology at the University of London.

From 1965 to 1969, Emecheta worked as a library officer for the British Museum in London. From 1969 to 1976 she was a youth worker and sociologist for the Inner London Education Authority, and from 1976 to 1978 she was a community worker.

 

Her first novel, the semi-autobiographical "In the Ditch", was published in 1972. It first appeared in a series of articles published in the New Statesman magazine, and, together with its sequel, Second Class Citizen (1974), provides a fictionalized portrait of a poor young Nigerian woman struggling to bring up her children in London, both books were eventually published in one volume as Adah’s Story in 1983.

HER CAREER

Following her success as an author, Buchi Emecheta has travelled widely as a visiting professor and lecturer. From 1972 to 1979 she visited several American universities, including Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, the University of California Los Angeles, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

From 1980 to 1981, she was senior resident fellow and visiting professor of English at the University of Calabar, Nigeria. In 1982 she lectured at Yale University, and from 1982 to 1983 Buchi Emecheta, together with her journalist son Sylvester, ran the Ogwugwu Afor Publishing Company which has branches in Lagos and London.

She held a fellowship at the University of London in 1986.

AWARDS

• Jock Campbell Award for literature by new or unregarded talent from Africa or the Caribbean, New Statesman, 1978

• New Statesman Jock Campbell Award for The Slave Girl, 1979.

 One of Granta’s “Best of the Young British Novelists”, 1983.

PERSONAL LIFE

She has 5 children Florence, Sylvester, Jake, Christy and Alice. Since 1962 Buchi has been living in London although she makes it a habit to visit Nigeria once every 3 months.

SOME OF HER BOOKS

Novels

Destination Biafra Naira Power Adah’s Story Double Yoke Second-Class Citizen
Gwendolen The Joys of Motherhood The New Tribe In the Ditch The Bride Price
The Slave Girl  Destination Biafra The Moonlight Bride Adah's Story The New Tribe
Kehinde Double Yoke A Kind of Marriage Gwendolen The Rape of Shavi

 

Autobiography

​Head Above Water 

 

Children’s/Young Adults

Titch the Cat Nowhere to Play The Wrestling Match

 

Plays

A Kind of Marriage Family Bargain

 

Articles

The Black Scholar "Feminism with a Small 'f'!

 

Article Credit: Kenechukwu Edeh

Updated 1 Year ago
 

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