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Washington ALA Conference Some images from the Washington Conference

Rose Sackeyfio
Sadia Zulfiqar being questioned on Buchi Emecheta’s Feminism by Virginia Phiri
Some Delegates
Tommie Smith and John Carlos – Museum of African American Culture and History, Washington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obi Nwakanma and Wangui Wa Goro
Kalo Sokoto and Sylvester Onwordi
Oonah Jaja Wachuku and Marie Umeh and Ruby
Akachi Ezeigbo
Martin Luther King Memorial – Washington
Thelma Pinto, Rose Sackeyfio, Carole Boyce Davies, Wangui Wa Goro, Sylvester Onwordi, Keiko Kusunose
Ernest Emenyonu and Nana Ayebia Clark
Nana Ayebia Clark receiving the Flora Nwapa Award for Black Women’s Publishing. LtR: Oonah Jaja Wachuku, Nana Ayebia Clark, Sylveter Onwordi, Oty Agbajoh-Laoye, Marie Umeh.

 

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THE BRILLIANCE OF BUCHI IN 5 BOOKS By Suzanne Ushie

Buchi Emecheta Jacket Covers

Buchi Emecheta, the Nigerian-born British novelist who died in 2017, wrote indelible books that continue to inspire people around the world. Her writing had a great influence on me as a young writer, growing up in Nigeria. Here, at last, were realistic stories of female independence by an unapologetic Black woman.

Emecheta’s life was a bildungsroman of sorts, forming the basis for her early work. After moving to London in 1962, she overcame the indignities of immigration and gained recognition as a pioneer Black female writer. Ainehi Edoro, assistant professor of literature at Marquette University and founder of Brittle Paper, credits “the likes of Emecheta” with breaking “the spell of male dominance in the African literary community” and for opening doors for other women writers. Today, Emecheta’s oeuvre remains relevant, and new readers will find much joy in the following books.

SECOND-CLASS CITIZEN

In this touching autobiographical novel, a teenage Nigerian girl named Adah deals with a soulless marriage in 1960s London. Despite constant physical and emotional abuse, she raises five children and dreams of becoming a writer. Told with wit and verve, this powerful story never lapses into a self-pity fest. During the pivotal scene where Adah’s husband burns her manuscript, Emecheta likens the act to that of the killing of a child. At its core, the novel is a celebration of human resilience and a searing critique of race, class and gender.

THE JOYS OF MOTHERHOOD

Whenever I meet young women fixated on marriage and motherhood, I recommend this book as an antidote. I don’t know that it has ever worked, but The Joys of Motherhood still resonates because it centers on a specific experience that gives rise to haunting universal questions — cheeky title and all. What would you do if you were Nnu Ego, who sacrifices everything for her children only to get nothing in return? How do you negotiate with your “destiny” when it betrays you? Even though the answers are rather clear-cut, humanity shines through at every turn.

As much social commentary as story, this is an important read in the midst of #MeToo.

THE BRIDE PRICE

Long before resistance became a thing, Emecheta pushed back at the male establishment on many fronts — this poignant story being just one. When Aku-nna falls in love with Chike, a descendant of slaves, her family forbids the union and rejects her bride price — money and gifts offered by a groom to his bride’s parents under Nigerian customary law. As if this fascinating premise weren’t enough, a superstitious belief hovers over the lovers: “If the bride price is not paid, the bride will die in childbirth.” In our increasingly nationalistic world, Emecheta’s timeless clash between tradition and modernity slices clean into the skin.

DOUBLE YOKE

This story draws from Emecheta’s stint as a visiting professor at the University of Calabar (also my alma mater), and takes on sexual harassment in Nigerian higher institutions — a topic rarely discussed in literature. As the narrative unfolds, we meet Ete Kamba, who is entrapped in a spell of toxic masculinity, and his girlfriend, Nko, who yearns to live a full life on her own terms. As much social commentary as story, this is an important read in the midst of #MeToo.

THE SLAVE GIRL

Nobody expects Ogbanje Ojebeta to survive at birth in colonial Nigeria. After all, she is an Ogbanje, a spirit born in human form, a maleficent visitor who torments families by dying deliberately to be reborn in successive children, only to die again and again. But when her parents die, her brother sells her to a wealthy relative. Emecheta casts a necessary light on domestic servitude, pulling off an unflinching exploration of freedom, agency and the ownership of women’s bodies.

Suzanne Ushie has an M.A. in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, and has been a writer in residence at Hedgebrook and Ledig House. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Lagos Book Launch

THE EVENT

This free event is open to all who wish to learn more about the late novelist. It will feature –

Tributes to Buchi Emecheta
A short film of her life
Readings from her works
A panel conversation and discussion on her influence and her legacy…

Prizes-giving
Snacks...

Plus – an opportunity to view and obtain her new books!

THE BOOKS

Though Buchi, who died in January 2017, was an internationally renowned figure, her books have been out of print in Nigeria for many years.  This book-launch aims to ensure that quality imprints of her works are now available in Nigeria in affordable and accessible formats.

Six titles are currently available in the new memorial edition – published by Omenala Press, the covers designed by the artist Victor Ehikhamenor.
A further four titles are scheduled to appear in the autumn.

THE VENUE

Jelili Adebisi Omotola Hall (Formerly Multipurpose Hall),

University of Lagos,

Akoka, Yaba,

Lagos 

www.buchiemecheta.co.uk

Nigeria International Book Fair : www.nibfng.org

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From “Willing Hands” to “Rivers of Blood”

“There were strikes, there was unemployment and the usual balance of payments deficit. But Enoch Powell implied that most of these troubles were caused by blacks. They all should be sent home, he cried, forgetting that only a few years back he had welcomed the black nurses from the West Indies with near hysterical enthusiasm. Those workers from Africa and the West Indies had been referred to as “willing hands”. The press said black people had fought gallantly to help save the mother country during the Second World War, and now they were here to help rebuild her industries. Everybody wanted the black people then. As most of the ravages of war had by now been repaired, the willing hands became the root cause of all the British ills. In Enoch Powell’s vision, they were going to cause blood to run in the streets.”

Buchi Emecheta – Head Above Water, Chapter 7

 

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Launch of Buchi Emecheta’s Book in Lagos 9th May

THE EVENT

This free event is open to all who wish to learn more about the late novelist. It will feature –

Tributes to Buchi Emecheta
A short film of her life
Readings from her works
A panel conversation and discussion on her influence and her legacy…

Prizes-giving
Snacks...

Plus – an opportunity to view and obtain her new books

THE BOOKS

Though Buchi, who died in January 2017, was an internationally renowned figure, her books have been out of print in Nigeria for many years.  This book-launch aims to ensure that quality imprints of her works are now available in Nigeria in affordable and accessible formats.

Six titles are currently available in the new memorial edition – published by Omenala Press, the covers designed by the artist Victor Ehikhamenor.
A further four titles are scheduled to appear in the autumn.

THE VENUE

Jelili Adebisi Omotola Hall (Formerly Multipurpose Hall),

University of Lagos,

Akoka, Yaba,

Lagos 

www.buchiemecheta.co.uk

Nigeria International Book Fair : www.nibfng.org

Follow us on instagram and twitter@omenalapress

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Comeback mother exhibition at Goldsmiths

Comeback mother, Goldsmiths
Halima Haruna and Jessa Mockridge
Performing the Archive
Jessa Mockridge, Althea Greenan, Elizabeth Williams (right)
In The Ditch – Manuscript
“The Black Story teller” – fragment from one of Buchi’s Notebooks
Lydia Levy and Angelique Golding
Lydia Levy and Angelique Golding
Irenosen Okojie

Sylvester Onwordi
Sylvester Onwordi

Comeback Mother - Buchi Emecheta

Dr Elizabeth Williams
Buchi Emecheta Archive
Fragments from the Buchi Archives

www.buchiemecheta.co.uk 

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