Flora Nwapa: Trailblazer of African Women’s Literature

OV Digital Desk

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Flora Nwapa (13 January 1931 – 16 October 1993) was an important figure in the world of literature, particularly in African literature. She is widely regarded as a pioneer of African women’s writing and one of the first female authors to achieve success in that field. Her works explored themes such as gender roles, relations between generations, marriage customs, and colonial influences. Her stories were often written from a female perspective and provided insight into what it was like to be a woman living on the continent during this time period. Nwapa wrote about real issues facing women at that time and her work had a great impact on readers both within Africa and abroad.

Life and Career

Nwapa was born on 13 January 1931  in Oguta, in south-Eastern Nigeria. Her writing focused mainly on the experiences of Igbo women. Throughout her influential career, Nwapa wrote sixteen books and also translated several works from Igbo into English. She is widely praised as a pioneering voice for feminist literature in Africa during a time when women’s voices were not widely heard.
Nwapa studied at the University College of Ibadan before she is working for the Ministry of Information after she graduated.

Flora Nwapa died of pneumonia on 16 October 1993 at a hospital in Enugu, Nigeria, at the age of 62.

Award and Legacy

Flora Nwapa was a Nigerian author and one of the first prominent female African writers to gain international recognition. She is known for her novels and short stories that explore the lives of women in Nigeria and their struggles with tradition and modernity.

Nwapa wrote many novels and short stories that were published in the 1970s and 1980s, the most famous one is her first published novel “Efuru” (1966) which is considered a classic of African literature and widely taught in schools and universities around the world. The book was groundbreaking in its portrayal of an independent African woman.

Remembering Michael Madhusudan Dutt

Nwapa was awarded the Officer of the Order of the Niger by the Nigerian government in 1985, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive in Nigeria. she won numerous awards including a Commonwealth Arts Award in 1988, an honorary doctorate from the University of Port Harcourt in 1991, a Gold Medal Award from the Writers’ Association of Nigeria in 1992 and a Crowned Woman Warrior Award by Women Empowerment International Foundation in 1995.

Her legacy continues to be celebrated and acknowledged by many African women writers and scholars. Nwapa was one of the early figures in feminist and womanist literature in Africa. Her pioneering work in writing strong and independent women characters opened the door for many female writers of Africa and her works continue to be studied and celebrated today. On 13 January 2017, Google Doodle celebrated Flora Nwapa’s 86th Birthday.