Kenya : Popular novelist and playwright Elechi Amadi, best known for his famous work, The Concubine, is dead. He was aged 82.
Kenya : Nigeria’s Elechi Amadi, author of The Concubine, takes final bow – Standard Digital News
The writer, who is considered among the giants of African literature, died in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt after a long illness.
Amadi’s famed novel, The Concubine, was among the first set books in Kenya between 1989 and 1992 after the 8-4-4 education system was launched.
Other literary masterpieces that graced bookshop shelves at the time as set books were Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Apart from The Concubine, Amadi is also famed for other equally masterfully crafted titles such as Sunset in Biafra, The Slave, Estrangement, The Great Ponds and Isiburu.
Amadi belongs to a brilliant class of post-colonial African writers that included Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Christopher Okigbo, John Pepper Clark, Sembene Ousmane and Kenya’s Ngugi wa Thion’go.
According to the leading Nigerian daily, The Guardian, the celebrated author was born in Aluu community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of River state in Nigeria on May 12, 1933.
DEGREE IN PHYSICS
He studied at the Government College in Umuahia, and like other renowned Nigerian writers, proceeded to the University of Ibadan where he obtained a degree in physics and mathematics.
At the University of Ibadan, he contributed to the legendary English Department and the student magazine, The Horn, which also nurtured a number of other aspiring writers such as Soyinka, Okigbo, Clark among others. Before Amadi plunged into the literary world, he served in the Nigerian army between 1963 and 1966 as a captain and was involved in Nigeria’s Biafrian war, which was a protracted struggle by Northern oil-producing States populated by the Ibo ethnic group that sought to secede.
His most highly regarded novel, The Concubine, was originally published in 1966 as part of the Heinemann African Writers Series.
It has been described by literary critics such as Alatair Niven in superlative terms for its indisputable timelessness and universality that is characteristic of all major novels. In 2007, it was turned into a Nollywood film.
“Like his fellow countryman Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi was a very refined writer, who was able to weave traditional Igbo proverbs into modern English and produce masterpieces,” says East African Educational Publishers CEO Kiarie Kamau.
“The only time I met him in person was in 2011 at The Stanley, Nairobi. He came across as a humble man, and one who didn’t value the flamboyance that goes with a ‘celeb’ of his stature,” says Mr Kiarie in a statement to The Standard.
Besides writing works of literary art, Amadi was active in civic matters in Africa. In 2011, he came to Kenya to attend a governance function hosted by the civil society