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Cyprian Ekwensi (Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi) Biography

(1921– ), (Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi), Jagua Nana, People of the City, Beautiful Feathers

Nigerian novelist and short-story writer, born in Minna, Northern Nigeria, educated at the Universities of Ibadan and Ghana, and at the Chelsea School of Pharmacy, University of London. He has also been a lecturer and broadcaster, and has served with the Federal Ministry of Information, Lagos, and the Bureau of External Publicity in Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War. Ekwensi is generally recognized as an entertaining chronicler of the big city life in West Africa, and his novels are characterized by a vigorous, realistic style. His most famous novel, Jagua Nana (1961), follows the ‘ageing African beauty’ of the title, which refers both to Zola's original ‘demimondaine’ and the pidgin word for ‘Jaguar’ cars, in her quest for love and money in ‘high life’ Lagos. People of the City (1954), Beautiful Feathers (1963), and Lokotown and Other Stories (1966) are also all set in Lagos, and peopled with vivid characters in their hectic struggle to survive, or to shine. Burning Grass (1962), written as a children's story, deals with the Fulani cattlemen of Northern Nigeria, and is generally considered to be one of Ekwensi's most successful, though least characteristic, novels.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Dutchman to Paul Engle Biography