52 Years of Nigerian Literature: The Second Generation

by - 15:51

For the third post in the series looking at 52 Years of Nigerian Literature, I want to look at the second generation writers - those whose first works came out between the 1970s and the late 1980s. While the first generation writers were interested in challenging the images and stereotypes of Nigerians (and Africans) that were perpetuated during colonial rule, second generation writers wrote highly critical literature and seemed to be more concerned with contemporary Nigeria. They also seemed to have been influenced by the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). In fact, the civil war generally affected Nigeria's literary scene. Christopher Okigbo, a first generation poet, for instance died fighting in the war, while many novels like Elechi Amadi's Sunset in Biafra (1973), Chukuemeka Ike’s Sunset at Dawn (1976), and Flora Nwapa’s Never Again (1976), were inspired by the war. 

The second-generation includes plays like Tunde Fatunde's No More Oil Boom (1985) and Oga Na Thief Man (1986), Olu Obafemi's Night of the Mystical Beast (1986), Wale Ogunyemi's The Divorce (1975), Femi Osofisan's The Chattering and the Song (1977), Kole Omotoso's The Curse (1976), and Bode Sowande's A Sanctus for Women (1979); poetry collections like Femi Fatoba's Petals of Thoughts (1984), Niyi Osundare's Songs of the Marketplace (1983) and Moonsong (1988), Odia Ofeimun The Poet Lied, Funso Aiyejina's A Letter to Linda (1988), and Tanure Ojaide's Children of Iroko (1973) and Labyrinths of the Delta (1986); and novels like Chris Abani’s Masters of the Board (1985), Abubakar Gimba's Innocent Victims (1988), Festus Iyayi Violence (1979),  Isidore Okpewho's The Victims (1970) and Last Duty (1976), Kole Omotoso, who also wrote novels like The Combat (1972) and Just Before Dawn (1988), Ken Saro-Wiwa's Sozaboy (1986), and Labo Yari's Climate of Corruption (1978). Women writers also became more pronounced during this period, with works from this period including playwright Osonye Tess Onwueme's Trial of the Beautiful Ones (1985), poet Omolara Ogundipe-Leslie's Sew the Old Days (1985) and authors like Zaynab Alkali's The Stillborn (1984) and The Virtuous Woman (1985), Buchi Emecheta's Second-Class Citizen (1974), The Bride Price (1976), and The Slave Girl (1977), and Helen Obviagele who wrote Ebvu My Love, Forever Yours and Fresh Start for the popular Pacesetter series.

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