A professor at the University of Lagos, Mrs Adimora-Ezeigbo has established herself as a profilic creative writer with publications in poetry, fiction and children’s literature. These include five novels, The Last of the Strong Ones, House of Symbols and Children of the Eagle (a trilogy), Trafficked and Roses and Bullets; four collections of short stories, Rhythms of Life: Stories of Modern Nigeria, Rituals and Departures, Echoes in the Mind and Fractures and Fragments; three poetry collections, Heart Songs, Waiting for Dawn and Cloud and Other Poems for Children; and twenty children’s story books. While two of her children’s novels have been translated into Swahili and Xhosa, two of her unpublished plays, Hands that Crush Stone and Barmaid and the Witches of Izunga, have been performed by the students of the Departments of Creative Arts and English at the University of Lagos.
Born in the south east of Nigeria, Professor Adimora-Ezeigbo started her career as a teacher in the north and settled down to adult and working life in the south west. Her sound educational background is informed by knowledge acquired from various institutions: St John’s C.M.S. Central School, Ekwulobia, Municipal Council School Port Harcourt, Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls’ School, Elelenwa, Port Harcourt, University of Lagos and University of Ibadan. From these institutions, she got her certificates, degrees and other honours ranging from WASC O’ Level to the Ph.D.
Though she published a short story, “The Call of Death”, as a teenager in Spear Magazine in 1971, her publishing career really started in the 1992 and she has gone on to win several literary and academic awards inside and outside Nigeria. She was a Commonwealth Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, a Research Fellow at the University of Natal (now KwaZulu Natal), Pietermaritzburg, in South Africa, a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for African Studies, University of Bayreuth, Germany and more recently a Research Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London. She was Best Researcher in the Arts and Humanities at the University of Lagos in 2005. Professor Adimora-Ezeigbo has participated in many literary festivals including Time of the Writer Festival, Durban, South Africa, Zabalaza Festival in London, Femwrite Literary Festival, Kampala, Uganda, Runnymede Festival in Egham, UK and Garden City Literary Festival in Port Harcourt.
Her passion for Gender issues informs her writings, research and lectures. Little wonder that her novels capture the feminist perspective through the presentation of women characters that challenge conventional roles for women in African society. Her most recent novel, Roses and Bullets, is based on the events of the Nigerian/Biafran War of 1967 to 1970.
In a recent interview, she explained that the Civil war has been part of her life in various ways and writing a novel about it was inevitable. “I started writing it in 2003. I got all the materials I needed from writing my thesis; it was not difficult writing the novel but I did not have time. It was when I got a one-year fellowship at the Royal Holloway University (London) in 2006 that I had time to write. I completed the book in 2007. I have been reworking it and giving other people to read, and now it is ready for publishing.
“It is basically about two important characters, a young man and a young woman in a period of war. The war affected their love; it actually destroyed it. It is about their lives and their families. The girl is the most important character.
“The story widens to bring in the war experience and other characters who are affected by it. Roses and Bullets is a love story set before and after the war. I have read everything on the Nigerian civil war. Apart from witnessing it, I have been able to transmute ideas and facts into fiction.”
Professor Adimora-Ezeigbo is a member of the Jalaa Collective which seeks to bring seriousness and excellence into writing, by being a model for other collectives to emulate, and copies of Roses and Bullets are available at Sahad Supermarket, Garki, Abuja.
The event which will include the usual side attractions of poetry performance, mini art exhibition, and a raffle-draw will also feature live music.