Saturday, April 6, 2013

Blast From the Past - Buchi Emecheta

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Buchi Emecheta in the 70s

Buchi Emecheta is a well known Nigerian author though I'm not sure if she has written anything recently. Her most popular books include Joys of Motherhood, the Bride Price, Second Class Citizen, etc. Her books mainly focus on women's issues, particularly the theme of gender bias in both immigrant and African societies. Most of Buchi Emecheta books at either autobiographies or semi-autobiographical. Other themes include racial prejudice and the experience of immigration. With over 20 books to her credit, she published her first book 'In the Ditch' in 1972.

According to her wiki page;

Florence Onye) Buchi Emecheta was born on 21 July 1944, in Lagos to Igbo parents, Alice (Okwuekwuhe) Emecheta and Jeremy Nwabudinke. Her father was a railway worker in the 1940s. Due to the gender bias of the time, the young Buchi Emecheta was initially kept at home while her younger brother was sent to school; but after persuading her parents to consider the benefits of her education, she spent her early childhood at an all-girl's missionary school. Her father died when she was nine years old. A year later, Emecheta received a full scholarship to the Methodist Girls School, where she remained until the age of sixteen when she married Sylvester Onwordi, a student to whom she had been engaged since she was eleven years old.

Onwordi immediately moved to London to attend university and Emecheta joined him in 1962. She gave birth to five children in six years. It was an unhappy and sometimes violent marriage (as chronicled in her autobiographical writings such as Second-Class Citizen). 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. The semi-autobiographical book chronicled the struggles of a main character named Adah, who is forced to live in a housing estate while working as a librarian to support her five children. Her second novel published two years later, Second-Class Citizen, also drew on Emecheta's own experiences, and both books were eventually published in one volume as Adah's Story.
Buchi Emecheta and Chinua Achebe

You can read more about Buchi Emecheta here and here. Pictures from Sable LitMag


  1. One of my favourite writers :) Her novel, The Joys of Motherhood, is a gem.

  2. I loved Bride Price, read it as a teenager and cried my eyes out. Planning to read Joys of Motherhood soon.

  3. Buchi Emecheta. Anytime I hear the name Buchi, my mind flies to her. I wanted to be a writer like her when I was younger.

  4. 'Joys of Motherhood' was my recommended text for my O-level literature paper. I love that book. And I've still got a copy on my shelf.

  5. I loved reading her books, I started wit second class citizen as a teenager and just couldn't stop with that. I've read almost all of her books.

  6. I don't think I have ever read her books. I will have to start.


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