FLORA NWAPA : Kawe Author For The Month Of May May 9, 2018 – Posted in: Efuru – Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Florence Nwanzuruahu Nkiru Nwapa was born on the 13th of January 1931. But she passed away on the 16th of October 1993. She was best known as Flora Nwapa, and she is still called the mother of modern African literature. The forerunner to a generation of African women writers, she is acknowledged as the first African woman novelist to be published in the English language in Britain and achieve international recognition, with her first novel Efuru being published in 1966 by Heinemann Educational Books. While never considering herself a feminist, she is best known for recreating life and traditions from an Igbo woman’s viewpoint.
Nwapa also is known for her governmental work in reconstruction after the Biafran War. In particular she worked with orphans and refugees who were displaced during the war. Further, she published African literature and promoted women in African society. She was one of the first African women publishers when she founded Tana Press in the 1970s.
She gave as one of her objectives: “to inform and educate women all over the world, especially Feminists (both with capital F and small f) about the role of women in Nigeria, their economic independence, their relationship with their husbands and children, their traditional beliefs and their status in the community as a whole”. Tana has been described as “the first press run by a woman and targeted at a largely female audience. A project far beyond its time at a period when no one saw African women as constituting a community of readers or a book-buying demographic.

There was a letter Flora Nwapa received that changed Nigerian Literature FOREVER….

In the early 1960s, Flora Nwapa sent Chinua Achebe a mail containing a manuscript.

She probably didn’t imagine that much would come out of it. Unlike most writers of her time, becoming a writer did not start out as a life’s goal.

“There was nothing in me when I was in school that made me feel I was going to be a writer. It was one of those things that just happened. I didn’t have the ambition to say, “Oh, Flora, you are going to be a writer, so work towards it.” She was 27 at the time and had just returned from Scotland. An Edinburgh University diploma in hand, she got a job teaching at Queens College in Enugu. Teaching at QC was great for a first job, but it also meant a lot of down time. Drafting stories became something she did to ward off boredom.
So you can imagine how delighted she was when she not only received a reply from Achebe, but also found a little surprise gift in the mail. Achebe had just been appointed an advisory editor for the African Writers Series. In the letter he wrote to Nwapa telling her how much he loved the manuscript, he included one guinea—the postage fee to have the manuscript sent to London.
Thanks to Achebe’s one guinea, Nwapa’s manuscript arrived in London. A few years later, in 1966, Efuru was published and became one of earliest novels written by an African woman and, certainly, the first written by a Nigerian woman.
Efuru was the first of many attempts by women cross Africa at dismantling the boys’ club that was the African literary community. As Buchi Emecheta has said time and again, the African literary community was viciously sexist. Women were often regarded with suspicion and condescension. Add to this the simplistic representation of women in literary works by male writers.
Nwapa was acutely aware of the gender disparity in African literary circles. In a world where women were excluded from the educational and intellectual communities that fostered creative work, it was near impossible for women to become writers. sent Chinua Achebe a mail containing a manuscript.


Nwapa was acutely aware of the gender disparity in African literary circles. In a world where women were excluded from the educational and intellectual communities that fostered creative work, it was near impossible for women to become writers. sent Chinua Achebe a mail containing a manuscript.

She probably didn’t imagine that much would come out of it. Unlike most writers of her time, becoming a writer did not start out as a life’s goal. “There was nothing in me when I was in school that made me feel I was going to be a writer. It was one of those things that just happened. I didn’t have the ambition to say, “Oh, Flora, you are going to be a writer, so work towards it.” She was 27 at the time and had just returned from Scotland. An Edinburgh University diploma in hand, she got a job teaching at Queens College in Enugu. Teaching at QC was great for a first job, but it also meant a lot of down time. Drafting stories became something she did to ward off boredom.
So you can imagine how delighted she was when she not only received a reply from Achebe, but also found a little surprise gift in the mail. Achebe had just been appointed an advisory editor for the African Writers Series. In the letter he wrote to Nwapa telling her how much he loved the manuscript, he included one guinea—the postage fee to have the manuscript sent to London.
Thanks to Achebe’s one guinea, Nwapa’s manuscript arrived in London.

A few years later, in 1966, Efuru was published and became one of earliest novels written by an African woman and, certainly, the first written by a Nigerian woman.
Efuru was the first of many attempts by women cross Africa at dismantling the boys’ club that was the African literary community. As Buchi Emecheta has said time and again, the African literary community was viciously sexist. Women were often regarded with suspicion and condescension. Add to this the simplistic representation of women in literary works by male writers.
Nwapa was acutely aware of the gender disparity in African literary circles.

In a world where women were excluded from the educational and intellectual communities that fostered creative work, it was near impossible for women to become writers.

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Book Pick For The Month Of May : EFURU by Flora Nwapa »