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Cyprian Ekwensi, famed Nigerian Author passes away.

Last Updated: 11/5/2007 11:39:23 PM

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One the fathers of modern Nigerian literature Cyprian Ekwensi has passed away at the age of 86. The Nigerian Guardian reported he died in Enugu in eastern Nigeria following an undisclosed ailment.....

Cyprain Ekwensi passes away at 86.
Cyprain Ekwensi passes away at 86.

One of Nigeria’s most famous authors, Cyprian Ekwensi has passed away after an undisclosed ailment. Cyprian Ekwensi was aged 84 years and has been a doyen of the Nigerian literature scene for over 50 years.

Ekwensi was born in 1921 in the northern Nigeria town of Minna. He was educated in Achimota College Ghana, the University of Ibadan and qualified as a Pharmacist from the University of London. He lectured in pharmacy at Lagos and worked as a pharmacist for the then Nigerian Medical Corporation before turning to a career in the media.

Ekwensi early output was largely in the form of short stories and the warm reception these received earned him employment at the Nigerian Ministry of information where he rose to the post of Director. His career however was temporarily derailed by the advent of the Nigerian Civil War. Like many eastern Nigerians, Ekwensi fled to the Biafran enclave were his literary skills were put to use in the Biafran Bureau of External Publicity. Biafra’s collapse saw Ekwensi return to the media working as a publisher for the remainder of his working career.

Ekwensi’s writing output was prolific and some his best known works included Jagua Nana (1961) , Burning Grass (1962), Passport of Mallam Ilia (1960), Coal Camp Boy (1971), Iska (1981) and Jagua Nana’s Daughter (1986).

Ekwensi won the Dag Hammarskjold International Prize for Literary Merit in 1969, but was ironically never bestowed with a national honour by Nigeria while he was alive.


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