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A Life Well Lived – Buchi Emecheta’s Life In Novels

As a titan in the African literary society passes on, one can only remember that our works and achievements are the only living testaments to a life well lived. Buchi Emecheta was a pinnacle to the female African society and would be remembered for her great contribution. She passed away in her sleep at the age of 72, on January 25 in her home in London.

“Buchi told the story of African women in a way that I had never seen before. After discovering her work, I read over 15 of her books in a row.

She was telling stories that, for me as a Nigerian-American, I had only heard whispers of. Her work was very influential to me.” – Nnedi Okorafor, writer of Akata Witch and Lagoon

Emecheta books reflected personal experiences (having come from a abusive home, and fending for five children when she divorced her husband), child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom. The key element of the woman factor drove her writing and although it could be refferred to as feminism, Emecheta never described herself as one.

Buchi Emecheta

“When it comes to African writers, I can say that Buchi Emecheta definitely matters to me. The Joys of Motherhood is a beautiful novel that perfectly the sense of Lagos at that time.” – Chimamanda Adichie, writer of Half of Yellow Sun and Americanah

In the 70’s Buchi found her voice through writing and went on to publish 16 novels, 3 works of children’s fiction, and an autobiography. She also won several awards during her lifetime, including an OBE – Order of the British Empire.

Buchi Emecheta


  1. In the Ditch (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1972).
  2. Second-Class Citizen (London: Allison & Busby, 1974).
  3. The Bride Price (London: Allison & Busby, 1976).
  4. The Slave Girl (London: Allison & Busby, 1977); winner of 1979 Jock Campbell Award.
  5. The Joys of Motherhood (London: Allison & Busby, 1979; Heinemann, African Writers Series No. 65, 1980).
  6. The Moonlight Bride (Oxford University Press, 1976).
  7. Our Own Freedom (photographs by Maggie Murray; London: Sheba, 1981).
  8. Destination Biafra (London: Allison & Busby, 1982).
  9. Naira Power (London: Macmillan, 1982); Pacesetter Novels series.
  10. Adah’s Story [In the Ditch/Second-Class Citizen] (London: Allison & Busby, 1983).
  11. The Rape of Shavi (London: Ogwugwu Afor, 1984).
  12. Double Yoke (New York: George Braziller, 1983).
  13. A Kind of Marriage (London: Macmillan, 1986); Pacesetter Novels series.
  14. Gwendolen (London: Collins, 1989). Published in the US as The Family (1990).
  15. Kehinde (Heinemann, African Writers Series, 1994).
  16. The New Tribe (Heinemann, African Writers Series, 1999).

Buchi Emecheta


  1. Head Above Water (London: Fontana, 1986).

Children’s Fiction

  1. Titch the Cat, illustrated by Thomas Joseph (London: Allison & Busby, 1979).
  2. Nowhere to Play, illustrated by Peter Archer (London: Allison & Busby, 1980).
  3. The Wrestling Match (Oxford University Press, 1980).



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African Writer
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