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|Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Nobody: 12:23pm On Apr 21, 2015|
1. Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)
‘If you don't like someone's story, write your own.’
Chinua Achebe is one of the most internationally-acclaimed writers from Africa, and his death in 2013 saw an outpouring of tributes from across the globe. Though he has often been called ‘The Father of Nigerian Literature’, he twice refused the Nigerian government’s attempt to name him Commander of the Federal Republic– first in 2004, then again in 2011 – in protest against the political regime of the country. His first novel Things Fall Apart(1958)is an intimate account of the clash between African native traditions of the Igbopeople in southeastern Nigeria and European colonisation. Weaving together oral tradition with Igbo folk tales, Achebe’s works reveal a tapestry of cultural norms, changing societal values, and the individual’s struggle to find a place in this environment.
2. Wole Soyinka (b. 1934)
‘The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.’
When Wole Soyinka, a playwright, poet and writer won the Nobel Prize in Literaturein 1986, Achebe joined the rest of Africa to celebrate the first African to receive the award. Soyinka’s writing often focuses on oppression and exploitation of the weak by the strong; none are spared in his critique, neither the white speculator nor the black exploiter. Wole Soyinka has also played an important role in Nigerian politics, which has at times exposed him to great personal risk. The government of General Sani Abacha(1993–1998), for instance, pronounced a death sentence on him ‘in absentia’. His works include novels such as Aké: The Years of Childhoodand Death and the King’s Horseman. You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoiris Soyinka’s own look at his life, experiences, and thoughts about Africa and Nigeria.
3. Femi Osofisan (b. 1946)
‘Nowadays, / When the strong fight the weak, it’s called / A Liberation War / To free the weak from oppression.’
- Women of Owu
As with many Nigerian writers, Femi Osofisan’s oeuvre – encompassing plays, poems and novels – is informed by colonialism and its legacy, and is a clear protest against corruption and injustice. Nonetheless, his exploration of the themes surrounding the complex history of his country are rarely literal. Instead, Osofisan employs allegory and metaphor, and his writing often has a surrealist bent. His first novel, Kolera Kolej (1975) tells the story of a Nigerian University campus that is granted independence from the rest of the country in order to halt the spread of a Cholera outbreak. His best-known play, Women of Owu (2004) is a retelling of Euripides’ The Trojan Women. Osofisan translates the play to the Ijebe and Ife war that devastated the Owu Kingdom in 1821-26.
4. Ben Okri (b. 1959)
‘To see the madness and yet walk a perfect silver line. ... That's what the true story-teller should be: a great guide, a clear mind, who can walk a silver line in hell or madness.’
— Birds of Heaven
Ben Okri is a renowned novelist and poet whose written works defy definition. He is often termed post-modern, yet his seamless interweaving of the spirit world into his stories belies this genre. Yet the author also rejects claims that his work falls into the ‘ magical realism’ category, seeing his writing not as a venture into the realm of the fantastic but instead a reflection of an upbringing wherein myths, ancestors and spirits were an intrinsic component. ‘Everyone’s reality is different,’ he once said. His most famous work is The Famished Road(1991), part of a trilogy – withSongs of EnchantmentandInfinite Riches– that chronicle the journeys of Azaro, a spirit-child narrator.
5. Buchi Emecheta (b. 1944)
‘God, when will you create a woman who will be fulfilled in herself, a full human being, not anybody’s appendage? she prayed desperately.’
— The Joys of Motherhood
Born in Lagos to Igbo parents, Emecheta moved to London in 1960 to live with her husband Sylvester Onwordi, who had moved there to study. The couple had been engaged since the age of 11, and whilst the marriage produced five children, Onwordi was a violent partner; he even burned her first manuscript, prompting Emecheta to leave him and establish herself as a single mother. Her novels draw heavily from her own life and address gender imbalance and enslavement, and how women are often defined through the narrow framework of sexuality or the ability to bear children. Her most acclaimed work, The Joys of Motherhood(1979), has as its protagonist a woman who defines herself through motherhood, and validates her life solely through the successes of her children. Emecheta was awarded an OBEin 2005.
6. Sefi Atta (b. 1964)
‘She says the lesson to learn is that the world is round, which means that if I run too fast I might end up chasing the very homeland I am running from.’
Sefi Atta is a sensitive writer, who broaches polemical themes in a subtle and nuanced manner. Everything Good Will Come(2005), her debut novel, is the story of Enitan, an eleven-year-old girl waiting for school to start, and her friendship with the girl next door; a relationship that receives little support from Enitan’s deeply religious mother. Set against the backdrop of the military ruleof Nigeria in the 1970s, it is at once coming-of-age-tale and quiet campaign against political corruption and the repression of women. Atta is widely known for her radio plays, which have been broadcast on the BBC, and her short stories, that have appeared in a number of journals including the Los Angeles Review.
7. Helon Habila (b. 1967)
‘Life is seen as an ongoing war between art and philistinism - and although the philistines may win some of the battles, it is literature that always wins the war.’
After graduating from University of Josin 1995, Helon Habila worked first as a junior lecturer in Bauchi, then as Stories Editor for Hints magazine, before moving to England in 2002 to become the African Fellow at the University of East Anglia. That same year, his first novel was published:Waiting for an Angelis a complex book that interweaves seven narratives, collectively speaking of life under dictatorship rule in Nigeria. The book won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in the African region, spurring the author to greater success. His two subsequent novels,Measuring Time (2007)and the latest, Oil on Water(2011)were equally well-received, and the list of awards and honors the Habila has gained attest to his sophisticated and poetic literary voice.
8. Teju Cole (b. 1975)
‘Perhaps this is what we mean by sanity: that, whatever our self-admitted eccentricities might be, we are not villains of our own stories.’
— Open City
Born in the US to Nigerian parents, raised in Nigeria and now living in Brooklyn, Cole’s upbringing is as peripatetic as his career; photographer, art historian and novelist, he is also Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bart College, New York. Open City(2011), his debut novel, is set in New Yorkfive years after 9/11, and follows Julius, a psychiatry graduate, as he wanders aimlessly first through the city, then as he travels to Brussels, rootless and on the rebound from a previous relationship. Whilst the geographical locations play a fundamental role in the novel, the narrative above all reads as a mapping of Julius’ inner world, as the divergent references and meandering associations woven into its structure mirror often inexplicable thought processes. He has previously published a novella,Every Day is for a Thief (2007), and he is currently working on a non-fictional narrative of contemporary Lagos.
9. Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (b. 1976)
‘His advice went in my ear and did a U-turn right out. Like most teenagers, I was sure that my father knew nothing about life.’
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is a novelist, journalist and essayist who from an early age demonstrated an affinity for the written word, winning her first writing prize aged 13. As a journalist, she has contributed to the New York Times, the BBC, the Guardianand CNN, amongst others. Her debut novel I Do Not Come to You By Chance(2010), is told in a witty and irreverent tone that belies the fundamental issues it addresses. Opara for his family, the book’s protagonist, Kingsley, is unable to find work, and so turns to the shady world of email confidence tricks. The 419 scamsare too often cited by xenephobes and racists as the main export of Nigeria, yet Adoabi addresses this contentious issue with humour and lightness, instead creating a story of family, aspiration and the hard lessons that come withage.
10. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (b. 1977)
‘I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.’
Chimamanda is part of a new generation of Nigerian authors swiftly growing in reputation, and each of her three novels have garnered universal acclaim and a slew of awards. Her first two books dealt largely with the political atmosphere of her native country through the prism of personal and familial relationships. Purple Hibiscus(2003), winner of the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book, tells the story of the fifteen-year-old Kambili, whose father is mysteriously involved with a military coup that destabilizes the country. The publication of Half of a Yellow Sun(2006)confirmed the author has a uniquely talented voice; set amidst the Nigerian-Biafran war, it chronicles the everyday horrors of the war through the differing lives of its four protagonists. Her latest novel,Americanah (2013), is at its heart an enduring love story between Ifemulu and Obinze, childhood sweethearts who are separated when one goes to study in America; nonetheless, it still manages to take in such themes as racism, immigration and globalization.
19 Likes 2 Shares
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Xslaze3xd(m): 12:35pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Kudos to our Great Writers
FTC...... sign of Good Things Coming
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by emmyw(m): 12:37pm On Apr 21, 2015|
I love seeing list like this.
Start-ups Application For DEMO Africa
2015 Opens, Form is Out-Apply Here Now
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Nobody: 12:40pm On Apr 21, 2015|
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by olatricia(m): 12:41pm On Apr 21, 2015|
That's my sweet heart, doing what she knows how to do best @ missclassy
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by olatricia(m): 12:42pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Nice compilation!!! In no particular order am sure.
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Nobody: 12:47pm On Apr 21, 2015|
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by godsamist: 12:49pm On Apr 21, 2015|
The good deeds of our heros shall never be in vain!
These are people who adds meaningfully to our lives and not those who loves seeing nigerians weep.
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Nobody: 12:55pm On Apr 21, 2015|
CHINUA ACHEBE IS OVERRATED AND SHOULDN'T BE ON THAT LIST. THE ONLY FAMOUS BOOK HE WROTE WAS "things fall apart" AND IT WAS A FLUKE COS HE NEVER REPEATED SUCH. HE IS AN AVERAGE WRITER WHO DOESN'T DESERVE SUCH RECOGNITION
24 Likes 7 Shares
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Nobody: 12:56pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Can't believe Ola Rotimi's name is not there.
His name should be number 2 on that list.
Zulu Sofoola's name is not there too.
59 Likes 2 Shares
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by bennydaniel403: 12:56pm On Apr 21, 2015|
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Atmmachine(m): 12:58pm On Apr 21, 2015|
My name is not on your [size=90pt]LIST[/size]
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by naijainfogalery: 12:59pm On Apr 21, 2015|
i cant find my name. Once again ive been cheated. So all my writeups on nairaland all these years that got me 10,000 likes cant even give me a slot in the list of best authur
4 Likes 1 Share
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by efilefun(m): 12:59pm On Apr 21, 2015|
@zuby77 should be named also
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by jamex93(m): 12:59pm On Apr 21, 2015|
these r great men
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Lifebender(m): 12:59pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Arrow Of God
No Longer At Ease
Things Fall Apart
Chike And The River
A Man Of The People.
Have read all.Of all these,A Man Of The People is my best.Very applicable to 2015 election.
I pray may He continue to write in the bossom of the Lord,so it wont be boring during my journey in death.
Last Bullet: Op,where is Cyprian Ekwensi ,he should be 2nd on that list,D.O Fagunwa and General Olusegun Obasanjo too
65 Likes 2 Shares
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by mikeczay: 12:59pm On Apr 21, 2015|
soyinka is the greatest. should be no 1
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by moscobabs(m): 1:00pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Where is D.O fagunwa and
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Maczeelly(m): 1:00pm On Apr 21, 2015|
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Nobody: 1:00pm On Apr 21, 2015|
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by AmakaDNB(f): 1:00pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Daniel Nkado too jor.
cc danwrites, dnbcrew
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by opeoluwa20(m): 1:00pm On Apr 21, 2015|
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Nobody: 1:01pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Then Elechi Amadi's name should be there too. Bottom line: Not every Nigerian Novelist and playwrights made the cut which is the top 10, rather, only the very best.
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Rick9(m): 1:01pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Glad to be among the FTC, it aint easy jor,
@Topic Ok Nice working on my own Book.
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Nobody: 1:02pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Story for the Gods[color=#990000][/color]
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Ephemmm: 1:02pm On Apr 21, 2015|
where did you put tosneytoomuch? The list is incomplete joor
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by wilybebsy(m): 1:02pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Broz wole shuld be first nd nt second
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by ZACHIE: 1:02pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Nobody is interested in that divisive discourse again.
Shut up and let Achebe rest in peace.
91 Likes 9 Shares
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Built2last: 1:03pm On Apr 21, 2015|
why people mouth bad like this...before i accuse someone of being over rated...i google the persons name and google my name...if the difference is clear...i respect such people. so google the names of everyone in your village plus your name and google the names listed above...
why the hate? and we dont even know you exist
110 Likes 14 Shares
|Re: Top 10 Nigerian Writers Of All Time. by Nobody: 1:03pm On Apr 21, 2015|
Lovers of literature will agree with me.
Ola Rotimi's name should be there.
24 Likes 2 Shares
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