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Elechi Amadi Biography

(1934– ), Sunset in Biafra, The Concubine, The Great Ponds, The Slave, Estrangement

nigerian war set nigeria

Nigerian novelist and teacher, born in Aluu, near Port Harcourt in Eastern Nigeria, educated at University College, Ibadan. After being employed as a surveyor for several years during 195360, he became a teacher, and has since held several Government and academic posts in Nigeria. Amadi served in the Nigerian Federal Army (19636 and 19689). During the Nigerian Civil War (196770) he was imprisoned twice by the Biafran government, but on his second release he rejoined the Federal forces. His experiences of the war are detailed in Sunset in Biafra (1973), one of the most powerful memoirs to emerge from that conflict. His first novel, The Concubine (1966), set in a riverine Delta community, concerns a young woman who brings misfortune to her male admirers; it gives an authentic depiction of traditional village life and also encompasses the supernatural within a convincingly realistic framework. The Great Ponds (1969) has similar qualities, focusing on a feud between two groups of precolonial villagers over control of a pond which is of immense importance to their livelihood and way of life. The Slave (1978) deals with an attempt by a social outcast, and ‘osu’, or slave of the god Amadioha, to return to his ancestral village; Estrangement (1986), set in the aftermath of the Nigerian Civil War, describes the psychological effects of the conflict on some of its survivors. Amadi's dramatic works include the two plays published in Peppersoup and The Road to Ibadan (1977) and Dancer of Johannesburg (1979).

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