Google on Sunday, July 21 is celebrating one of the greatest storytellers, Florence Onyebuchi “Buchi” Emecheta by changing its logo to a doodle portraying her.
Florence Onyebuchi “Buchi” Emecheta (21 July 1944 – 25 January 2017) was a Nigerian-born British novelist.
She remains one of Nigeria’s best-known female writers and is respected for her imaginative and documentary writing about African women’s experiences in Africa and in Great Britain.
Florence was born in Yaba, Lagos. Her mother was Alice Ogbanje Okwuekwu Emecheta, and her father was Jeremy Nwabudike Emecheta, who worked as a moulder on the railways.
According to her biography, in 1960, Emecheta married Sylvester Onwordi, a student to whom she had been engaged since the age of eleven. After bearing two children in Nigeria, Buchi followed her husband to London where he was a student.
She separated from her husband in 1966 when he burned the manuscript to her first book, The Bride Price.
From 1970 to 1974, Emecheta studied and received an honours degree in sociology at the University of London. At the same time, the British left-wing magazine The New Statesman published passages subsequently gathered into her later novel In the Ditch (1972).
Her first two published novels, In the Ditch (1972) and Second-Class Citizen (1974) are largely autobiographical, describing a woman’s struggles against sexual discrimination in Nigeria and racism, classism, and sexism as an immigrant to Britain.
Other novels including The Slave Girl (1977) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979) address the harmful potential of rigid gender structures amidst otherwise changing Nigerian culture. The allegorical novel, The Rape of Shavi (1983) details the clash of Western and traditional African cultures.
She has also written four works of teenage fiction, two works of children’s fiction, and an autobiography entitled Head Above Water (1986). She has written numerous plays for the BBC and won several awards, including being selected as one of the Best British Young Writers in 1983.
From 1972 to 1982, Emecheta served as a visiting lecturer and professor at universities in the United States, England and Nigeria. Shortly thereafter, she and her journalist son founded a publishing company in London and Nigeria, named Ogwugwu Afor.
Since 1979 Emecheta has also served on numerous British committees as a respected voice for arts, integrationist, and women’s issues, although she rejects the feminist label. She achieved a PhD in social education in 1991.