Biography of Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta is considered one of the most prominent female African writers, celebrated for her novels chronicling the experiences of African women in Nigeria and abroad.

Emecheta was born Florence Onye Buchi Emecheta on July 21, 1944 in Lagos, Nigeria. A member of the Ibo people, she grew up hearing her aunt tell stories and decided at an early age that she wanted to be a writer. She married at age 16 and moved with her husband and two young children to London in 1962. There she worked as a librarian at the British Museum, studied sociology at London University, became a community worker in Camden, and began writing stories that were based on her life, and published them in New Statesman magazine. These soon became The Ditch (1972) and Second-Class Citizen (1974), both collected in Adah’s Story (1983).

Emecheta separated from her husband after years of his cruelty, the final straw being when he burnt her manuscript for what became The Bride Price. She and her children, now five in number, lived on their own as she pursued her education and career.

Emecheta’s other work includes fiction—The Slave Girl (1977), The Joys of Motherhood (1979), Destination Biafra (1982), Double Yoke (1982), and The Rape of Shavi (1983)—children’s stories, two plays for the BBC, and an autobiography, Head Above Water (1986).

Emecheta also ran the Ogwugwu Afor Publishing Company, was a member of the Home Secretary's Advisory Council on Race and the Arts Council (1982-83), was a regular contributor to the New Statesman, the Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian, and in 2005 she was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE). She died in London in 2017.

Study Guides on Works by Buchi Emecheta

Second Class Citizen is a novel written by Nigerian-born author Buchi Emecheta. It concerns a young Nigerian girl’s dream to move to the United Kingdom in pursuit of a better life. After arriving in London, she grapples with her cruel husband, the...