Nigeria At 62: Chinua Achebe and 2 Other Nigerian Authors Who Were Already Famous Before 1960

Nigeria At 62: Chinua Achebe and 2 Other Nigerian Authors Who Were Already Famous Before 1960

Today, October 1, 2022, Nigeria clocks 62 years. This is counted from 1960 when the country gained Independence from Great Britain.

The Independence Day is one of the most popular holidays in Nigeria. Nigerians remember it as the date the country detached itself from the shackles of colonialism.

Photos of Cyprian Ekwensi, Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka.
Famous Nigerian writers Cyprian Ekwensi, Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka. Photo credit: BBC Igbo, Eamonn McCabe/Popperfoto and Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images.
Source: UGC

But before October 1, 1960, many great things were already happening in Nigeria. One of those great things is that Nigeria already produced notable literary giants.

These authors already had notable works circulating in the literary sphere. highlights three of them in this article.

1. Cyprian Ekwensi

Born September 26, 1921 in Minna, Niger state, Cyprian Ekwensi is one of the earliest Nigerian writers to be published before independence.

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Ekwensi's first book, When Love Whispers was published in 1947. This was followed by The Leopard’s Claw published in 1954.

In his later writing career, he published Lokotown and Other Stories (1966), Burning Grass (1962), and Jagua Nana, (1961).

Ekwenis was a trained pharmacist who attended the Chelsea School of Ph'armacy in London. He passed on in 2007 in Enugu.

2. Chinua Achebe

Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was born on November 16, 1930 in Ogidi, in present-day Anambra state.

Things Fall Apart, Achebe's first novel published in 1958 became a reference point in Nigeria's pre-independence literature.

He would become very famous because of the book and other notable works including, No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1987).

Achebe attended the University of Ibadan where he studied English Literature. He passed on in 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

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3. Wole Soyinka

Another notable Nigerian author who was already making waves before independence is Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka know popularly as Wole Soyinka.

Born on 13 July 1934 in Abeokuta, Ogun state, Wole Soyinka is one of Nigeria's strongest literary voices.

Soyinka wrote Keffi’s Birthday Treat (1954), The Invention (1957), The Swamp Dwellers (1958), A Quality of Violence (1959), The Lion and the Jewel (1959) The Trials of Brother Jero, A Dance of the Forests (1960) and many other books.

Soyinka would later win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.

Remembering Bola Ige had also written about the life of late Nigerian lawyer, Bola Ige. Ige, a former governor of Oyo state was assassinated in 2001.

Before his murder, Ige was the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

To date, his murder case has not been resolved. Many have called for the case to be revisited and for those who murdered him to be brought to book.


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