Saturday, 25 February 2017

Chimamanda: We Don’t Have Enough Children’s Books That Tell African Realities

Chimamanda Adichie is vocal about many things and African literature ranks highly on that list.
The Nigerian author, in a video by The Atlantic, says without enough local alternatives, African children have to read books that don’t portray realities they can identify with.

The daughter of a university professor, Adichie grew up “surrounded by books” in the Nsukka campus of the University of Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s oldest colleges and early on, she noticed a startling problem: “The children’s books that I read, and I think this is true for many other young children in countries that were formerly colonized, didn’t reflect my reality.”

Based on British and American books she’d read, Adichie says she had to develop a “parallel imaginary life.” To help other African kids escape having to imagine alternate lives, Adichie wants more Africans writing books for children. “For complex reasons that have to do with power and resources, there just are not many children’s books that are about African realities as there are about American and western realities. And many African realities are still being told by other people,” she says. “I want African realities to be explored by Africans.”

For children, Adichie says, based on her own experience, reading about realities they can relate to helps build a stronger bond with books. “My perception of literature changed when I started reading African literature,” she says. “Feeling a greater sense of connection with those books, feeling that there’s something different because it felt close and it felt familiar.”

The award-winning author and cultural commentator, who recently became a mother herself, has written books that cover numerous adult themes from war and displacement to love and the immigrant experience. While some books touch on childhood experiences, Adichie is not known for writing children-targeted books. That might very well change.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Thoughts On Contemporary African Literary Criticism

What is the correct state of contemporary African Literary criticism? This is certainly not a simple question to answer. It is also not in any way a complicated question to answer. What is important, however, is that a complete, thorough knowledge of African writers is compulsory for anyone interested in contemporary African literature. Such a complete, thorough knowledge is compulsorily necessary if we desire to develop an abiding interest in contemporary African literary criticism.

Whether the African writer is liked or not liked is of no value, of no importance, of no relevance, but he or she must be read and evaluated dispassionately following the tradition Gerald Moore established in 1962. In fact, since that time when Moore published his Seven African Writers, African literary criticism can rightly be said to have been seen and accepted as a worthy enterprise of scholarly and professional enquiry with its own distinct traits that must occupy closely the “health of mind of the critic as the doctor with the health of the body,’’ to borrow I. A Richards’ words (25). Clearly, since 1962 different kinds of value judgments, pronouncements and estimates of comparative assessment and comparative greatness of African writers and writings have been the concern or preoccupation of the literary critic and reader. But their true worth and value to the development and greatness of our literature and criticism can be said, rightly or wrongly, to be still elementary. We may not accept it but the corpus of creative, imaginative works and books known today in the domain of established African literature far outnumbers the body of valuable criticism when we speak, at least, in terms of books (or handbooks) claiming originality, to the literature of contemporary African literary criticism. Today, in Africa, we seem to have far more writers than critics, and these critics, in the main, seem to be more concerned with writers from their respective national or ethnic territories and domains. This perspective needs immediate qualification.

Since the nineteen seventies, following the example of the already cited Gerald Moore, “the intensity,” to quote Solomon Ogbede Iyasere, “with which African critics have become engaged in the criticism and review of African creative works” (20), has been remarkably phenomenal in the development and direction of African literature and contemporary African literary criticism. The significance of the development and direction were such that attempted to curtail the dominance by foreign, that is, Western, critics, of African literary enterprise, that is, African literature and its criticism. Standards of critical tools and values that were considered to be foreign to Africa were to be done away with and jettisoned. As the editors of Presence Africaine put it, ‘’The soul of our people will not be heard in the concert of nations until they have regained their artists, their authority to judge and their privileges as consumers and interpreters of their works of art. In short they must retrieve the organic dimensions of their own vitality’’ (qtd. in Solomon Ogbede Iyasere 21). And in the more blatant words of Joseph Okpaku, also quoted in Iyasere’s essay, “The primary criticism of African art must come from Africans using African standards. We cannot accept either of the two existing approaches to criticism of African literature. It is as undesirable to plead for leniency in criticizing African works as it is absurd for Lewis Nkosi to ask that Western critical standards be used”(21). When these words were uttered African scholars’ nationalistic idiosyncrasies were in vogue in and outside the arena and orbit of African literature and its criticism. At the time black grains of African cultural features were greatly attractive to the African traditional brain of the African-skinned intellectual. The African scholar’s rhetoric of persuasion and conviction must be employed in praise and defence of African artistic productions that were adjudged by Western critics especially not to make the expected grade. Ernest Emenyonu’s chastisement of Bernth Lindfors for his jaundiced criticism of Cyprian Ekwens’s fictional art is too well known to be re-visited here in full. But I hasten to quip here that both critics – the African and Western, respectively, – were deeply concerned about the ideas of literary value as they perceived them from their respective rhetorical and moral stand-points.

The marks these standpoints (and others) have left on African literary criticism today are discernibly the marks of the chosen tongue of critical rigour of high value and the marks of the chosen tongue of ethnic-national glorification of neighbourly art. While Lindfors’ chosen tongue was universal and equally aided by its universal appeal Emenyonu’s was “vernacular-traditional,” to borrow JP Clark’s words (“Interview with John Pepper Clark” (16)), a mode that was not good enough for the cause it meant to promote or serve. In his attack of Ekwensi, Lindfors was defending and promoting universal criticism; in his defence of Ekwensi Emenyonu was protecting his countryman from universal annihilation. But we must make no mistake about it: Ernest Emenyonu is an efficient, unique, sound elderly scholar and critic.

Today in African, especially in Nigerian literary criticism, vernacular- ethnic critics have taken over or seem to have taken over the business and profession of Nigerian literature and criticism from the experts of natural instincts of truthful criticism and absolute set of principles of taste and decorum. Critics of conscience are giving way to critics of ethnic value, critics who encourage and father commercialism. The meaningful call and avid promotion of an African aesthetic which earlier critics and writers such as JP Clark championed are now being controversially abused. In fact, JP Clark’s “vernacular-traditional” literature and criticism is now being bastardized as ethnic bigotry worshipped as useful criticism in several quarters. Critics of this sort and mind speak of the works of authors and writers from their ethnic, regional and “national” groups as texts that must be studied and interpreted from the traditions and elements that inspired and produced them. A critic outside the ethnic tradition is censored disingenuously and disadvantageously to the extent that he or she is accused of using strange, foreign elements and criteria to judge, say, a Yoruba or Igbo imaginative literature. Deliberately, I refrain from any specific example, I being from a miniature, wee Nigerian ethnic group of no importance or consequence in contemporary Nigeria. This speaks volumes or should speak volumes about our contemporary criticism. But this is part of the problem of Nigerian, nay, African literary criticism of the present time. And what will be my defensible position if I say this or that book from this or that ethnic or regional group does not meet the literary grade of imaginative or realistic acceptability? As a critic and writer from a wee ethnic group with no literary stronghold whatsoever and with no identifiable cult or school of defenders, whatever my qualified attitude or position may be or is, is of no value and will amount to no value. Our literature and criticism cannot grow in good health this way. This view must be taken seriously otherwise ethnic quacks and dilettantes will now be the overseers of the “health of the mind” of our literature and criticism “as [is] the doctor with the health of the body” (I.A. Richards 25). This perspective and the sentiments it expresses may not be new, but the general theory they espouse is the general theory that hints at the dubious colour and odour that quackery and dilettantism are transmitting to the nostrils of our critical quest and taste.

Many years ago, when my sense of criticism was just above its fledgling state, as a young bird fledging to fly, I sent an essay to a Southern African-based journal on the writer Lawrence Vambe of Zimbabwe. The essay in question was on his very broad-themed book, An Ill-fated People. The essay focused on the book as history, autobiography, literature and orature, and several other concerns. The editor of the said journal rejected it outright on the grounds that I could not be making the claims I made (valid or not valid) because of the distance between Nigeria and Zimbabwe. I think the said editor, going by his name, as far as I can remember it, was a white man, probably a white Zimbabwean, who could not stomach the intellectual claims I made for Zimbabwe (and Africa). I branded him a racist and, out of frustration, sent the same essay to a superior journal in the United States edited then by a top-ranked scholar and critic in our discipline. The editor, also a white man, accepted it in full. My critical articulation and theoretical aesthetics appealed to him. He was not induced against me by the malaria of racial malice or the “jaundice” of racial prejudice. That publication helped immeasurably to stand me in elevated theoretical and critical worth. This is in no way an exercise in self-trumpet-blowing.

Of what relevance are the recalled critical judgments and acts of experiences? The point is that I have witnessed a junior colleague in one of our universities who was similarly discriminated against by two Nigerian journal editors of two different ethnic regions of our country. First, he sent an article to a journal whose editor seemingly detested the writer focused on ostensibly because the said writer was not from the editor’s ethnic base. Our young colleague sent the rejected article to another editor of a journal from the same ethnic group our young critic’s focused-on writer hailed/hails from. His article was accepted. I then advised him to replicate exactly his experience by sending an article on another writer whose ethnic region was/is different from the same editor that accepted his earlier rejected article. The latter editor rejected the article. Our essayist thereafter sent the article to the earlier editor whose ethnic base is the same as the new writer focused on. It was accepted without qualms. Thus the point is that in contemporary Nigerian literary criticism considerations of literary or critical values seem not to be the ulterior ends at issue. This is bad as it is not lucrative to our critical sensibility and judgment and imaginative experience and ethos. This perspective may appear to be a controversial one, but it should not or ought not to be seen as such, for it cannot be ignored in view of the fact that several of our critics are losing their conscience to ethnic delusion. I say it again: Ethnic values, ethnic peculiarities and particularities should not determine our literature and criticism. If a poem is good, it is because it is good. If a poem is bad, it is because it is bad. If a poem is neither here nor there it is because it is neither here nor there. We must not disturb our critical consciousness by debating this perspective. Ethnic polemic or politics may serve its purpose, but we must let literature and criticism remain what they must be. As Eliot famously said of Arnold, we must not go for ‘’game outside of the literary preserve altogether…’’ (23).

It may amount to literary heresy if we pay no heed to this concern. The critic’s task, in the words of Northrop Frye, is to ‘’isolate quality,” and nothing else (23).

This brings me to a salient point relating to bad belle criticism and good belle criticism in especially contemporary Nigerian literary criticism. There is a third brand of criticism, which is in-between bad belle criticism and good belle criticism. The first is induced by the malaria of malice and jaundice of petty prejudice, the second by the sweetness and scent of friendship, the third by the stress and distress of balanced appreciation and the hallucination of objectivity. I am inclined to also style the last mentioned pine-apple-face criticism. The merits and demerits of a “studied” work are ranked on the scale and prison of rough, ugly, scarred beauty mixed with the juice of approval and disapproval at the same time depending on the bad belle and good belle moods of the ‘’critics.” I hope the metaphors are not misplaced or misapplied ones that are offensive to our literary sight and tongue.

Clearly the three types in varying guises are engendered by the mantic of manipulation of our literary and artist consciousness. The three types were, for instance, demonstrated when Achebe released his There Was a Country shortly before his demise.

A useful point to make at this point pertains to African writers who are equally unusually distinguished critics. Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, J.P. Clark, Ngugi wa Thiong’ O, Es’kia (Ezekiel) Mphahlele, Lewis Nkosi, Isidore Okpewho are all famous writers, who have made their mark as first rate critics. They are “ancients,” grand-elders, who are being imitated by several modern writers who are critics as well. But the critical and literary habits of the latter seem to be significantly different from those of the former. While the grand-elders, for instance, were patient to preserve their art from impurity and contamination, the moderns are in a hurry, usually, to taint their literary value with hasty publications (for promotions) that trivialize their art. (I refrain from naming examples of the poetic culprits). Yet our contemporary critics in several instances turn a blind eye to their numerous flaws. Materials that should have been employed to the advantage of the new writers are theoretically and critically utilized against them through ill-judged remarks of no serious or profound aesthetic, moral, environmental, political and cultural values. Uncritically scintillating remarks and critiques of our critics relating to our new writers become our new writers’ banana peels. But not all our contemporary critics of my generation are of the un-aesthetic grade. Some there are among us who are really creative critics. I have such persons as Damian Opata, Remy Oriaku, JOJ Nwachukwu-Agbada, Hope Eghagha, Gbemisola Adeoti, Isidore Diala and Sunny Awhefeada in mind. They belong to their classes of generations, but they are critics to reckon with. Apart from Damian Opata, Remy Oriaku and Sunny Awhefeada, they are remarkable writers as well.

In a remark pertaining to Achebe’s stature and status as African writing path-finder, Ernest Emenyonu states as follows: ‘’Chinua Achebe’s remarkable influence on contemporary African Literature is as much as in the establishment of the art of the African novel in his fiction, as it is in the articulation of African poetics and aesthetics in his extra fictional pronouncements. He is as much the father of the modern African novel, as he is the forerunner-theoretician of African literary criticism’’ (xv).

This remark, as nice and as justifiable as it is or may be, will be taking with some pinch of salt by some persons who are exceedingly good critics. I know that it has ruffled a lot of feathers in some quarters. But we cannot dispute this fact: Achebe is a great writer and will ever remain great – as Wole Soyinka, JP Clark, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Isidore Okpewho are great writers who will ever remain great. Soyinka and Okpewho, for instance, are undisputable eclectic ‘’forerunner-theoretician[s]’’ in myth scholarship and criticism. We can say the same thing of JP Clark who is the father of Oral Literature in Nigeria, as we can glean from his Ozzidi corpus and translations. I expect new and worthy experts in the area of contemporary African literary criticism to challenge openly, with decorum, our elders in the profession in such a manner that will be beneficial to our aesthetics.

Many of us seem to be too squeamish or to be too cowed by the achievements of our literary elders and mentors to attempt to open or break new grounds. Socrates taught Plato and Plato taught Aristotle. Each mentor and each mentee broke new grounds in scholarship. But there is hope that the generation(s) of the Femi Osofisans, Niyi Osundares, Tanure Ojaides, Adebayo Williams are worthy examples to cite in this connection. These four mentioned writers are well-languaged writers who are also very unique theoreticians and critics breaking new grounds in form and style – to the glory of our literature and criticism – as our Christian-minded literary brothers and sisters will put it, but not in the manner of Nollywood. In the last stretch of phrases one may perceive a dose of humour/laughter a creative critic should endeavour to imbed, if necessary, in his or her enterprise. Achebe does this excellently well in his essays in Morning Yet on Creation Day. So also does JP Clark in his The Example of Shakespeare.

One more issue. Why do our contemporary critics wait for the West to applaud our writers before they themselves do so? We must now learn to discover our writers (and critics) for the West rather than the West doing the discovery for us. This is imperative for the growth of our contemporary literature and criticism. Indian literary scholars have been doing this for years. They do not wait for the West to tell them who is a good or talented Indian writer. They objectively and faithfully ‘’sell’’ their writers to the West. Doing what I am hereby recommending will give Nigerian (and African) literary community its greatest happiness in no distant time.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Black Tower’s Short Story Series Is Out Now!
The Twelve Tales is finally out for purchase.  It has 12 contributing authors whose stories were chosen and added to be published early next year.  These contributing authors are: Emeka Aniago, Damilola Peters, Mudiaga Ejor, Iwe Ikechukwu, Stella Ibrahim, Oyemi Joy, Uche Okoli, Jerry Nnaji, Sandra Ajayi, Vanessa Cole, Nwankwo Ejike, and Miracle Ikeji.
Black Tower Publishers initiated the Short Story Series to give authors the exposure and experience they need to embark on much larger career as writers. It’s also a way of promoting online publishing, and letting Nigerian writers understand they can do much through online publishing.

Collection of the stories started in January, 2016; and it ran through the year and ended on 20th of December, 2016. Those authors whose stories weren’t picked, and those whose stories weren’t polished enough to be published on our blog can still re-enter next year.

The sales of the eBook (The Twelve Tales) will begin on 20th January, 2017; and at the end of each month, the contributing authors will receive their proceeds from the sales of the month.
Stay Tuned. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Why You Should Hire An Editor For Your Manuscript.

Many readers notice character and plot development in every story. However, editing ranks as an equally important aspect of the writing process worth mentioning. Some of you may be rolling your eyes. Why harp on about editing?

Because it matters.

Over the past few years, I’ve read quite a few self-published books. Most of the books have been wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Yet some have been painful to read. Others have been good, but could have been great with the assistance of an experienced editor. Too many self-published authors don’t think readers can tell if their novel hasn’t been professionally edited. Trust me, most of us can. As for authors who skip utilizing beta readers and critique partners, that shows as well.

Click here for a professional editor
I’m not just talking about typos. Many readers will forgive one or two, and these errors do happen in books that are traditionally published. Editors do so much more than proofreading. Developmental editors assist with the story and its execution. This process may involve a massive rewrite, but from my experience, it’s well worth it. My developmental editor has suggested some major changes, including reworking the ending of my first novel. I followed her advice after pouting for a day and you know what? She was right. It’s a much better story now.

Another type is substantive editing, which involves the larger aspects of the novel such as character development, plot holes, unresolved threads, pacing, etc. Yet another form of editing involves copyediting which makes sure you don’t change your character’s name or hair color. Copyeditors also fix grammar and punctuation, as well as assist in fact-checking and identifying potential legal issues. There are even more kinds of editors and some overlap occurs.

Please be wary of editors who say they can offer several different types of editing with one reading. You really will get what you pay for. I’m not saying you have to hire five different editors, but make sure you check your editor’s credentials. Who have they worked with? Do they offer a sample? Most will do this for free. What type of editing experience do they have? Do your research to save yourself from losing money. Also, take the time to recognize the parts of the writing process you need the most help with.

When I hear of self-published authors who admit they didn’t work with a professional editor I cringe. Not only is the author publishing something that isn’t the best that it can be, but the person is denying themselves the opportunity to learn and grow as a writer.

If you want to improve your writing, work with experienced editors. It’ll change how you think about editing and it will make you appreciate all that they have to offer.
Your readers will thank you for it.

Click here for a professional editor

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Remembering South African writer Peter Abrahams: 1919 – 2017

South African writer Peter Abrahams died on 18 January 2017. An early pioneer in the exploration of race identity in South Africa, he was a literary giant who was at the forefront of capturing the injustice of apartheid.

Peter Abrahams, who died aged 97 at his home in Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica, was one of South Africa’s most distinguished writers. His fiction and non-fiction work challenged and dissected the complexities of the black South African identity. His biting criticism of the early days of apartheid and his exploration of pan-Africanist philosophy were fuelled by the need to tell the world of the injustice of racism and colonialism.

Abrahams will be remembered best for his Mine Boy, which was added to the South African school curriculum in the early 2000s.

Mine Boy, a brutal story of South African urban migration, became the first novel by a black South African to be published internationally. It was the third book by a black South African to be published, after Sol Plaatje’s Mhudi in 1930 and RRR Dhlomo’s 1928 novel, An African Tragedy.

“I am emotionally involved in South Africa,” Abrahams said in 1957. “If I am ever liberated from this bondage of racialism, there are some things much more exciting to me, objectively, to write about. But this world has such a social orientation, and I am involved in this world and I can’t cut myself off.”
During his most prolific years, 1946 to 1966, Abrahams wrote eight novels, as well as memoirs and political essays. His 1948 novel, The Path of Thunder, inspired the ballet piece, İldırımlı yollarla, by Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev.

Abrahams’ early years
Abrahams was born in Vrededorp, Johannesburg, in 1919 to an Ethiopian father and coloured mother.

According to his obituary in The New York Times on 22 January 2017, Abrahams was inspired to read and write at a young age when he heard Shakespeare’s Othello. A prodigious student, he began contributing poetry and short fiction to so-called bantu publications after completing his basic education. As a young budding writer, he consumed literature, particularly the works of black American writers.

“I read every one of the books on the shelf marked American Negro literature,” he wrote in his memoir Tell Freedom: Memories of Africa in 1954. “To (these) writings of men and women who lived a world away from me … I owe a great debt for crystallising my vague yearnings to write and for showing me the long dream was attainable.”

This knowledge also inspired his political thought and his desire to capture the black South African psyche in words.

Ship to London
After a stint as the editor of a Durban socialist magazine in 1939, Abrahams found work aboard a ship bound for London. In the British capital, he worked as a journalist on the British Communist Party’s Daily Worker newspaper.

He lived in London’s African immigrant community, meeting exiled political figures and intellectuals, including future Kenyan leader Jomo Kenyatta; Kwame Nkrumah, who would go on to lead Ghana to independence from Britain; and Trinidadian pan-Africanist George Padmore. The experience inspired his most multifaceted work, the 1956 novel A Wreath for Udomo, about political and social transitions in postcolonial Africa through the eyes of the continent’s political exiles. Renowned English literary scholar Harvey Curtis Webster called the book “the most perceptive novel … about the complex interplay between British imperialism and African nationalism”.

During the 1950s, Abrahams travelled across Africa, including a return to South Africa to observe the rise of postcolonial, pan-Africanist political movements. These essays, long considered the most authoritative work on the era, were later published as Return to Goli.

Settling in the Caribbean
After being commissioned by the British colonial office to research and write a comprehensive history of Jamaica, Abrahams wrote of the island and its people: “…in the stumbling and fumbling reaching forward of its people, is dramatized … the most hopeful image I know of the newly emerging underdeveloped world”.
With his wife Daphne and their three children, he made Jamaica his home for over four decades.

South Africa, however, remained foremost in his writing; in particular, it was the setting of his 1965 novel, A Night of Their Own, about the anti-apartheid underground. This inspired his 1985 magnum opus, The View From Coyaba, a detailed transgenerational novel about black struggle movements in Africa, America and the Caribbean.

As he got older and the postcolonial era reached its pinnacle with the end of apartheid in the 1990s, Abrahams felt less obligation to capture the zeitgeist of black African political thought. Instead, he let new, younger literary voices speak about the evolving movement.

Speaking to Caribbean Beat magazine in 2003, Abrahams said: “I became a whole person when I finally put away the exile’s little packed suitcase. When Mandela came out of jail and when apartheid ended, I ceased to have this burden of South Africa. I shed it.”
Abrahams never returned to his country of birth.

Overdue tribute?
The Daily Maverick’s J Brooks Spector observes, in his lovingly detailed obituary of Abrahams on 25 January 2017, the often overlooked connection between South Africa and the writer, and begs an important question: “Surely there should be a (South African) library named in his honour, an endowed chair in African literature at one of the nation’s premier universities, and a publishing effort reprinting his output in a standard, uniform edition?

“Embracing his memory as an early literary pioneer and impact as a writer must also take into consideration the eclecticism of his political thinking, his influence on the pan-African idea, and an ethnicity that embraced the near-totality of South African experience,” Spector concludes.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Emecheta - the 'Old School' and Feminist Literature

As the literary world deliberately giving a nod to mourn one of its rare, female gems, Buchi Emecheta, WO examines contemporary Nigerian literature by women writers; and how well their themes align with the feminist tradition.

Feminism, according to the dictionary, is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. Feminists have also worked to promote bodily autonomy and integrity, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence.

Until the 20th century, the number of female writers in Nigeria and Africa could be counted on one hand as they were few in number. Before then, female writers were not acknowledged by critics as women were expected to be taking care of their homes. Times have changed and female writers have come a long way; some have even gone as far as being Nobel Prize winners.

Feminist writing
A few of these women, who took the literary world by the horn, not only wrote good stories but had the zeal of writing good feminist stories.
Interestingly enough, some of the younger generation of female writers have told Woman's Own feminist writing has not fizzled out with the passing away of this gtoup of writers but that in as much as they do not want to be tagged as feminists, they are still following in the steps of the older generation of female feminist writers.

 Toyin Akinosho, publisher, Africa Oil & Gas report, is of the school of thought that feminism is just an ideology. He was of the opinion that "You do not have to be a female writer to be a feminist in the actual sense.

"Just because I am a female, I can work and fend for myself and other does not necessarily mean feminism. Whereas non feminism in a light way basically means the man is the overall boss or that you have to be submissive to him."

What made the likes of Buchi and Flora fall under that category is because they wrote and began to use that medium to give voice to women. A woman being independent and strong does not mean that these women are feminists the way ideologists woulddefine a feminists. However, in the African context there are strong, independent women who see no contradiction in being submissive to their husbands in the marital setting.

This type of woman does not portray feminism in the real sense. I would rather say that these writers in their own capacity gave women a voice and opinion. Authors like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and others did not pay attention to such.

Strong characters
For the last 40 years when these female writers wrote their books, women did not have the strong characters to give voice to their frustration.

I won't call them feminists but rather female writers who gave voice to women and their plight. They are not opinion writers rather they identified that women have a role to play in the society. They put characters in their novels that showed that women had contributions to make in the society, whereas in the books of Chinua Achebe, the women are silent and subservient to their male counterparts. That was the style of early African literature, but when females start writing, using female characters as protagonists, this feeling about feminism began to show.

Patriarchal dominance: The truth is that I just don't want to use the word feminism but I think because of them, you now have so many women who could come out and write their stories. They were coming out at the time when the dominant story in Nigerian literature was patriarchal. That's a very important statement they were trying to make.

The word feminism from the western culture much much more than they thought. Western understanding of feminists is very broad. In their writings, they projected feminism as major characters to be heard, but in the real sense, back at home, the women still obey their husbands, undertake domestic chores like taking care of children without deliberately giving a nod to feminism in its real sense which is basically sharing every domestic chore equally between husband and wife and observing the rights attached to it as practiced in Europe America and other parts of the developed world.

Older female writers as pace-setters: The women we admire like Buchi and the rest set the pace but we should also remember that Buchi said she doesn't define herself as a feminist, although she writes powerful literature. These days, people are not ashamed to be called feminists. I would rather just be an advocate for gender equality because femininity is some kind of trend right now and anything that becomes trendy soon to loses its

 Female empowerment
So for me, I believe that right now the text is stronger, the message is stronger and when you have such strong literature, people will abuse it. There is a lot of abuse and ignorant messages from quarters to water down the true essence of what writers like Chimamanda are doing. When you have such a strong African woman springing up internationally, there will be resistance. So I believe Buchi Emecheta and the others set the pace and the other young men and women are carrying the message even farther.

Joy Isi Bewaji, a writer and modern day feminist opines that if there was never an era where so many people were talking about female empowerment, it is actually now. Bewaji defends her statement by saying that "Chimamanda writes a lot about female empowerment in her own way. We all write about that. Anybody who believes in gender equality, whether they agree that they are feminists or not have tried to empower women with their literature. Lola Soneyin writes powerful scripts for women."

Anwuli Ojogwu, another young writer opined that "I think that everybody embraces feminism in different ways. Feminism is based on one's experiences. So to accuse young female writers of not being feminists enough would be unfair. Within feminism, there are many subtexts or sub topics There are people who fight for equal pay, maternal equality, and many causes within the female circumstance. I would say that Nigerian young writers are assertive. Whether they project enough feminism may not be clear or boldly stated. There are young Nigerian female writers I know who are assertive. For a society like ours, I think that is bold."