Florence Onyebuchi “Buchi” Emecheta

Florence Onyebuchi “Buchi” Emecheta was born in the Nigerian city of Lagos on 21 July in 1944.

Her family was very poor and her mother did not have a formal education. The family only had enough money to send her brother to school. Her father passed away when she was eight years old but Emecheta was discovered by a benefactor who saw her potential and she was given the opportunity to study rather than sell fruit in the market. In 1954 she won a scholarship to the well known Methodist girls high school in Yaba, Lagos.

At the age of eleven Emecheta was engaged to marry Sylvester Onwordi and five years later they married. In 1960 Onwordi moved to Britain to study at university and in 1962 she joined him there with their two children. By 1965 the couple had five children and by the time she was twenty two years old they were separated. One of the first works that Emecheta wrote was burned by her ex husband and was re-wrtitten by her in its entirety after their separation. The book, entitled The Bride Price, was eventually published in 1974 following her first two books, In the Ditch (1972) and Second-Class Citizen (1974). After leaving her husband she worked as a librarian to support her family and in 1970, she enrolled at the University of London and worked towards a degree in Sociology.


Her subsequent works depict accounts of women’s experiences in female child-rearing, while facing numerous obstacles which include the changing values of traditional societies. Emecheta is also the author of several novels for children, including Nowhere to Play (1980) and The Moonlight Bride (1980). She has also published a volume of autobiographical tales, Head Above Water (1986). Her television play, A Kind of Marriage, was first screened by the BBC in 1976.

In the late 1970s she was a visiting professor at several universities in the United States and in 1979 she received the prestigious New Statesman Jock Campbell Award for Commonwealth Writers. She returned to Nigeria in 1980 to work as a visiting Professor of English at the University of Calabar.

In 2010 a stroke hindered her mobility and her writing, and she became progressively ill. She died on 25 January 2017 in London.

Information sourced from

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