Buchi Emecheta: Google Doodle celebrates prolific British-Nigerian author

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Google has put out a new doodle to celebrate Buchi Emecheta, the British-Nigerian writer who died two years ago.

The new Google Doodle is commemorating what would be the 75th birthday of the recognised writer of 20 novels, whom some have called “the first successful black woman novelist living in Britain after 1948”.

Emecheta’s novels draw on her own life as a single mother and an immigrant in the UK, and over time dealt with themes including race and women’s quests for equal treatment, self-confidence and dignity both in Nigeria and as immigrants.

About Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta was born on 21 July 1944 in an ethnic Ibo family in the suburbs of Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up listening to her grandmother’s tales. She married in 1960 at the age of 16, and her first daughter was born in the same year. By 1966, when she was 22, the family had five children.

Her husband Sylvester Onwordi travelled to London to attend university in 1962, and Emecheta followed him with their children.

Her first novel, In The Ditch, echoes the unhappiness of the marriage. In the novel, a fictionalised alter-ego Adah daydreams of becoming a writer while living with a violent husband in horrendous conditions.

On one occasion, her husband burned the manuscript of her first novel. She decided it was enough, and left him to become a single mother with five children, finding employment as an assistant librarian at the British Museum.

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“My mother was a born storyteller,” says her first son, also called Sylvester Onwordi. “As an immigrant single mother battling poverty in the slums of 1960s London, she would draw her five small children around her, light candles, and delight us with what she called her ‘Moonlight tales’—stories she had learned at twilight by the light of a hurricane lamp from her aunts in the village, or imbibed at her father’s knee during her family’s internal exile in Lagos.”

Top books by Buchi Emecheta

Alongside the popular ‘The Joys of Motherhood’ by Buchi Emecheta, here’s a list of 7 other books you probably didnt know she published.
Nigerian-born British novelist, Buchi Emecheta
1. Second Class Citizen
Second Class Citizen is a story of a resourceful Nigerian woman who overcomes strict tribal domination of women and countless setbacks to achieve an independent life for herself and her children.
2.The Bride Price
A Nigerian girl is allowed to finish her education because a diploma will enhance her bride price, but she then rebels against traditional marriage customs.
3. The Slave Girl
The Slave Girl tells the fortunes of Ogbanje Ojebeta, a Nigerian woman who is sold into slavery in her own land after disease and tragedy leave her orphaned as a child. With her fellow slaves, she finds a surrogate family that clings together under the unbending will of their master. As Ogbanje Ojebeta becomes a woman and discovers her need for home and family, and for freedom and identity, she realizes that she must ultimately choose her own destiny.
4. Kehinde
Kehinde and her husband Albert had always intended to return to Nigeria. When the opportunity arises, Kehinde realises she is reluctant to leave London and the independence she has enjoyed there. Albert, longing for the prosperity and status that will be his in Nigeria, is determined not to be thwarted in his plans. He thinks that it is his wife’s duty to obey him, and forces her to make terrible choices. Kehinde, plagued with guilt, is led on an unexpected path by the spirit of her dead twin.
5. The Family
The story of a young Jamaican girl, Gwendolen Brillianton, who is born into poverty and deserted by her parents when they emigrate to London. Being reunited with her parents and the siblings she has never met does not end her problems, and she realizes she must must fight her family and take control of her own life in order to recover from abuse and take pride in her self. Originally published as Gwendolen.
6. In The Ditch
This story describes a Nigerian mother who is alone but determined to carve a place for herself against all odds.
7. Double Yoke
Double Yoke tells the story of two undergraduates who must confront the conflicting demands of tradition and modernity. While Nko pursues an education despite the resistance of those who feel a woman’s identity is assumed in traditional marriage, Ete Kamba’s love for her is severely tested as he is himself locked into the rigid attitudes from which Nko is attempting to break free. Nko must further contend with unscrupulous professors who would take advantage of her tenuous role as a woman in a male-dominated environment. As the author candidly portrays the status of women in emerging African nations, the choices facing Ete Kamba and Nko are neither clearcut nor perfect.
Buchi Emecheta described her stories as “stories of the world where women face the universal problems of poverty and oppression, and the longer they stay, no matter where they have come from originally, the more the problems become identical.” She was described as “the first successful black woman novelist living in Britain after 1948”.

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