Achebe and Friends at Umuahia

The Making of a Literary Elite

Terri Ochiagha

WINNER OF THE ASAUK FAGE & OLIVER PRIZE 2016 The author meticulously contextualises the experiences of Achebe and his peers as students at Government College Umuahia and argues for a re-assessment of this influential group of Nigerian writers in relation to the literary culture fostered by the school and its tutors.
Date Published :
April 2018
Publisher :
Boydell and Brewer
Series :
African Articulations
Illustration :
10 black and white, 1 line drawing
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781847011091
Pages : 344
Stock Status : In stock


This is the first in-depth scholarly study of the literary awakening of the young intellectuals who became known as Nigeria's "first-generation" writers in the post-colonial period. Terri Ochiagha's research focuses on Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Chike Momah, Christopher Okigbo and Chukwuemeka Ike, and also discusses the experiences of Gabriel Okara, Ken Saro-Wiwa and I.C. Aniebo, in the context of their education in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s at Government College, Umuahia. The author provides fresh perspectives on Postcolonial and World literary processes, colonial education in British Africa, literary representations of colonialism and Chinua Achebe's seminal position in African literature. She demonstrates how each of the writers used this very particular education to shape their own visions of the world in which they operated and examines the implications that this had for African literature as a whole.

Supplementary material is available online of some of the original sources. See:

Terri Ochiagha holds one of the prestigious British Academy Newton International Fellowships (2014-16) hosted by the School of English, University of Sussex. She was previously a Senior Associate Member of St Antony's College, University of Oxford.


Introduction: The Umuahian Connection - Terri Ochiagha
Laying the Foundation: The Fisher Days, 1929-1939
"The Eton of the East": William Simpson and the Umuahian Renaissance
Studying the Humanities at Government College, Umuahia
Young Political Renegades: Nationalist Undercurrents at Government College, Umuahia, 1944-1945
"Something New in Ourselves": First Literary Aspirations
The Dangerous Potency of the Crossroads: Colonial Mimicry in Ike, Momah and Okigbo's Reimaginings of the Primus Inter Pares Years
An Uncertain Legacy: I.N.C. Aniebo and Ken Saro-Wiwa in the Umuahia of the 1950s
The Will to Shine as One: Affiliation and Friendship beyond the College Walls

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