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Festus Iyayi Biography

(1947– ), Violence, The Contract, Heroes

nigerian social

African novelist, born in Nigeria, educated there and at the University of Bradford. His parents were farmers, who experienced considerable deprivation. A master of hard-hitting social realism, his first novel, Violence (1979), is a stark indictment of the Nigerian social system, and its misuse of oil wealth. Its story of a day-labourer, Idemudia, and his wife, Adisa, who struggle desperately to survive in harsh contrast to their employers, Olufun and Queen, prosperous hotel proprietors, highlights the exploitation of the former by the latter. It was followed by The Contract (1982). Iyayi gained particular prominence with Heroes (1986; Commonwealth Writers Prize) which focuses, through the eyes of a journalist, Osime, on the brutalities and corrupting influence of the Nigerian Civil War (196770).

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