chapter  4
FLORA NWAPA AND THE FEMALE NOVEL OF
ByDEVELOPMENT
Pages 28

Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is the first title in Heinemann’s African Writers Series. His Igbo compatriot Flora Nwapa’s Efuru, the first novel in the series by a woman, is the twenty-sixth. Because Heinemann was the major English publisher of African literature between 1958 and 1986, such figures are significant: the gap of eight years and of twenty-five titles between the appearance of Achebe’s canonical text and the publication of the first femaleauthored work in the series. Furthermore, the next work in the series by a woman, Idu, also by Nwapa, did not appear until 1970, thirty male-authored texts later. How can these gaps be explained? What are the factors to which the relatively small number of women authors can be attributed?