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Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta was the first post-war female novelist of African descent to publish in Britain. She has also written a television play and stories for children. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, to Igbo parents in 1944, she joined her husband in the UK in 1960. As a girl, she persuaded her parents to allow her to attend school along with her younger brother. She studied at the Methodist Girls High School in Lagos until she got married at the age of sixteen. She joined her husband in the UK in 1962, but the marriage soon fell apart. Throughout the sixties and seventies Emecheta supported her young family of five by working as a librarian at the British Museum and as a youth and community worker. In the mean time she also read sociology at the University of London (obtaining a BSc in 1972 and a PhD in 1991) and established herself as a professional writer.

Her autobiography Head Above Water (1986) and her autobiographical novels In the Ditch (1972) and Second-Class Citizen (1974) give readers insight into the hardship she faced as a single black mother in Britain. Also later novels such asGwendolen (1989) and The New Tribe (2000), her most recent novel to date, address British racism. Other novels deal with the changing role of women in Nigerian society, including in The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977), The Joys of Motherhood (1979) and in Kehinde (1994),. In Destination Biafra (1982) and The Rape of Shavi (1983) respectively focuses on the Nigerian civil war and the colonisation of Africa. Emecheta has been a resident writer and professor at various universities in the United States and in Nigeria and she received an OBE in 2005.


Emecheta, Buchi. Second-Class Citizen. Allison & Busby, 1974. Print.

. “Buchi Emecheta.” Interviews with Writers of the Postcolonial World. Ed. Feroza Jussawala and Reed Way Dasenbrock. Jackson and London: University Press of Mississippi, 1992. 82-91. Print.

Frank, Katherine. “The Death of a Slave Girl: African Womanhood in the Novels of Buchi Emecheta.” World Literature Written in English 21.3 (1982): 476-497. Print.

Haraway, Donna. “Reading Buchi Emecheta: Contests for Women’s Experience in Women’s Studies.” Inscriptions 6 (1992): 107-24.

Iyer, Lisa H. “The Second Sex Three Times Oppressed. Cultural Colonization and Coll(i)(u)sion in Buchi Emecheta’s work.” Writing the Nation. Self and Country in the Post-Colonial Imagination. Ed. John C. Hawley. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1996. 123-138. Print.

Katrak, Ketu H. “Womanhood/Motherhood: Variations on a Theme in Selected Novels of Buchi Emecheta.” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 22.1 (1987): 159-170. Print.

Leggett, Jane. “Notes to the Text-Plus Edition.” Second-Class Citizen. Text-Plus Edition. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1989. Print.

McLeod, John. “Living Room. Buchi Emecheta, Joan Riley and Grace Nichols.” Postcolonial London. Rewriting the Metropolis. Routledge, London and New York, 2004. Print.

O’Reilly, Elizabeth. “Buchi Emecheta.” British Council Literature: Writers. 2007. Web. 13 March 2013.

Prono, Luca. “Buchi Emecheta.” British Council Literature: Writers. 2004. Web. 13 March 2013.

Umeh, Marie. Emerging Perspectives on Buchi Emecheta. Trenton, New Jersey & Asmara, Eritrea Africa World Press, 1996. Print.

Ward, Cynthia. “What They Told Buchi Emecheta: Oral Subjectivity and the Joys of ‘Otherhood’” PMLA 105.1 (1990): 83-97. Print.

 Yearwood, Susan. “The Sociopolitics of Black Britain in the Work of Buchi Emecheta.” Black British Writing. Ed. Victoria R. Arana and Lauri Ramey. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 137-144. Print.

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