Nigerians became much active in writing during the advent of nationalism and nationalistic movements. Since then Nigerians has gone far into writing especially in literary means.
Here are some of the writers that have left their footprints on the sands of history in Nigeria literary scene.
10. ELECHI AMADI
On number ten is a Nigerian author of plays and novels that are generally about African village life, customs, beliefs and religious practices, as they were before contact with the western world. He is Elechi Amadi who was born on 12th of May 1934 in Aluu in Ikwerre local government of Rivers state.
Amadi is best known for his 1966 first novel. The Concubine,which has been called “an outstanding work of pure fiction”. He bagged so many awards including Member of the order of the federal republic (MFR) in 2003.His books includes the concubine (1966), The Great ponds (1969), Sunset in Biafra (1973)and many others.
9. OLA ROTIMI
Olawale Gladstone Emmanuel Rotimi was born on the 13th April 1938 in Sapelle, Delta state in southern Nigeria, was a playwright, director, one time head lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University, has also served as visiting professor, playwright and director in Germany and Italy, as well as at DePauw University and Wabash College. He died on the 18th of August 2000 at the age of 62.
Some of his works include to stir the God of Iron (1963), Our Husband has gone mad again (1966), The Gods are not to blame (1968), others include Kuwunmi (1969), Holding Talks (1970) and many other books. His awards includes two full bright scholarships.
8. BUCHI EMECHETA
Buchi Emecheta Obe is a female Nigerian novelist who has over 20 published books under her literary achievement. She focuses on child slavery, motherhood, female independent and freedom through education. These literary niches of hers have earned her considerable international awards and honours including an Order of the British empire 2005. Some of her works include In the Ditch (1972), Second Class Citizen (1974), The Slave Girl (1977), The Joys Of Motherhood (1979) and many others.
Some of her reputable awards include New Statesman Jock Campbell award for the slave girl, 1979 and also she has been honoured as one of Grantas “Best of the young British Novelists” 1983. She hails from Ibusa in Delta State.
7. AKACHI ADIMORA
Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo was born and raised in Eastern Nigeria, but now lives in Lagos. According to her website @ akachiezeigbo .org, she is the first child of Joshua and Christiana Adimora and has five siblings. Raised partially in a rural environment and partially in the city, she combines these two factors, as background and setting for her children stories and adult fiction.She has traveled extensively in Africa, Europe and in the USA. Prof. Akachi is a lecturer, writer, novelist. Critic, essayist, journalist and administrator, she was appointed a professor of English at University of Lagos in 1999. she is married to Professor Chris Ezeigbo and they have three children.
She has written many books including Trafficked (2008), Wing of Dawn (2006), Roses and Bullets (2011), etc. among her literary awards are Flora Nwapa prize for women writing in 2002, NLNG prize for literature in 2007 and too many others.
Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi is a native of Nkwelle Ezunaka in Oyi local government area, Anambra state. Ekwensi wrote hundreds of short stories, radio and television scripts and several dozen novels, including children books. In 1968, he received the Dag Ham marok Jold international prize in literature. In 2001 he was made a member of the MFR and in 2006, he became a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters.
Ekwensi died on 4th November 2007 at the Niger Foundation in Enugu, where he underwent an operation for an undisclosed ailment.
His books includes People of the City (1954), The Drummer Boy (1960, Jagwa Nana (1961), Burning Grass (1961) etc.
5. FLORA NWAPA
Born on the 13th of January 1931 in Oguta a community in Imo state and died on 16th of October 1993 at the age of 62. Florence Nwanzurahu Nkiru Nwapa was a Nigerian author of high repute simply known as Flora Nwapa by her contemporaries was also called the mother of modern African Literature. She is acknowledged as the first Africa woman novelist to be published in the English language in Britain and achieve international recognition with her first novel Efuru that was published in 1966.
Flora never considered herself a feminist, she was best known for recreating life and traditions from an Igbo womans viewpoint. One is Enough (1981) This is lagos, and so many other short stories and poems.
4. BEN OKRI
Ben Okri is not just a poet and a novelist, he is also considered one of the foremost African authors in the post modern and post colonial tradition. He is also likened to authors of high repute in the name of Salman Rushdie and Gabriel Maquez. Born to Urhobo father and Igbo mother, Ben success as a writer began when he published his first novel Flowers and Shadows, at the age of 21.
Some of his novels include Flowers and Shadows (1980), The Landscapes Within (1981), The Famished Road (1991) and so many others.
Ben Okri have won so many international awards including commonwealth writers prize 1987, Aga Khan prize for fiction 1987, Guardian fiction prize 1988, and the Prestigous Man Booker prize 1991 and too many others.
3. CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Enugu on the 15th of September 1977 but hails from Abba in Njikoka local Government Anambra state. She has been called the most prominent” of a procession of critically acclaimed young Anglophone authors thatg is succedding in attracting a new generation of readers to African Literature.
Adichie divides her time between Nigeria where she teaches writing workshops and the United States. Chimamanda is a core feminist, she said “I think of myself as a storyteller, but I would not mind at all if someone were to think of me as a feminist writer, I’m very feminist in the way I look at the world, and that world must somehow be part of my work”.
Chimamanda’s speech for TEDxEuston which she titled “we should all be feminist” was sampled on 2013 before Grammy nominated song **Flawless** which attracted world attention to her .
Her award includes BBC short story competition prize 2002, Commonwealth writers prize 2005, Orange prize for fiction 2007, International Nino prize 2009 etc.
Her published novels are Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), Americanah (2013and We should all be feminist (2014).
In March 2017, Americanah was picked as the winner for the “One Book, One New York” program,part of a community reading initiative encouraging all city residents to read the same book .
In April 2017, it was announced that Adichie had been elected into the 237th class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the highest honours for intellectuals in the United States, as one of 228 new members to be inducted on 7 October 2017.
Her most recent book was published in March 2017 titled Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
2. WOLE SOYINKA (Prof)
Akinwande OLuwale Babatundde Soyinka is an author, poet, playwright and a human right activist. Born on 13th July 1934. Soyinka has been a strong critic of Nigeria successive governments, especially the country’s many military dictators, as well as other political hittlers in Africa like Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
During the regime of General Sani Abacha, Soyinka escaped from Nigeria and went and lived in the United States. In 1986 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature making him the first African to be honored in that category.
In 2011, the African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre built a writers’ enclave in his honour. It is located in Adeyipo Village, Lagelu Local Government Area, Ibadan, Oyo State , Nigeria. The enclave includes a Writer-in-Residence Program that enables writers to stay for a period of two, three or six months, engaging in serious creative writing.
In 2013, he visited the Benin Moat as the representative of UNESCO in recognition of the Naija seven Wonders project. He is currently the consultant for the Lagos Black Heritage Festival, with the Lagos State deeming him as the only person who could bring out the aims and objectives of the Festival to the people.
He has written many books which includes The Swamp Dwellers (1958), A Quality of Violence (1959), The Lion and the Jewel (1959) and Many others, among his notable awards are Nobel prize for literature 1986, Agip prize for literature 1986, international Humanist Award 2014 and too many others not mentioned here.
1. CHINUA ACHEBE
Born on the 16th of November 1930 in Ogidi Anambra state, Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor and critic. He was also considered by many to be one of the most original literary artists writing in English during his lifetime. He is best known for his novel Things Fall Apart (1958).
Achebe became learned in English, though he grew up in a village full of Igbo language and traditions and colonial legacy.
Things fall apart was his first novel and remains his best known works. It has been translated into at least forty five languages and sold eight million copies world wide. Other novels of his include No Longer At Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), and A man of the people (1966).
His final published work was the literacy autobiography There was a Country a personal account of Biafra. Achebe has been called “the father of modern African writing and many books and essays have been written about his work”.
Before his death he has received over 30 honourary degrees from universities in England, Scotland, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria and the United states.
Among his notable Awards are Peace of the German book trade, Man Booker prize 2007, an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1982, he twice refused the Nigerian honour Commander of the Federal Republic in 2004 and 2011 and slighting bad governance in the country and in his home state Anambra.
Despite his scholarly achievements and the global importance of his work, Achebe never received a Nobel Prize , which some observers viewed as unjust. When Wole Soyinka was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature , Achebe joined the rest of Nigeria in celebrating the first African ever to win the prize. He lauded Soyinka’s “stupendous display of energy and vitality”, and said he was “most eminently deserving of any prize”. In 1988 Achebe was asked by a reporter for Quality Weekly how he felt about never winning a Nobel Prize; he replied: “My position is that the Nobel Prize is important. But it is a European prize. It’s not an African prize … Literature is not a heavyweight championship. Nigerians may think, you know, this man has been knocked out. It’s nothing to do with that.
He died on the 21 of March 2013 in Boston, United states at the age of 82.