This book looks at the trends in the development of the Igbo novel from its antecedents in oral performance, through the emergence of the first published novel, Omenuko, in 1933 by Pita Nwana, to the contemporary Igbo novel.

Defining "Igbo literature" as literature in Igbo language, and "Igbo novel" as a novel written in Igbo language, the author argues that oral and written literature in African indigenous languages hold an important foundational position in the history of African literature. Focusing on the contributions of Igbo writers to the development of African literature in African languages, the book examines the evolution, themes, and distinctive features of the Igbo novel, the historical circumstances of the rise of the African novel in the pre-colonial, era and their impact on the contemporary Igbo novel.

This book will be of interest to scholars of African literature, literary history, and Igbo studies.

chapter |5 pages


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chapter 1|7 pages

The need for a literary history

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chapter 2|12 pages

Igbo literary origins*

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chapter 3|13 pages

Minstrelsy in traditional Igbo society

Remembering a pioneer legend—Israel Nwaọba Njemanze (alias Israel Nwaọba)
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chapter 4|14 pages

From voice to text

Missionary influence on the development of Igbo orthography and written Igbo literature *
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chapter 5|25 pages

Early fiction in Igbo—the pioneers *

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chapter 6|4 pages

The crisis of standardization of written (literary) Igbo language

Pioneer efforts of F.C. Ogbalu: Founder and architect, Society for Promoting Igbo Language and Culture (SPILC)
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chapter 7|8 pages

On the threshold of another blackout

A new controversy over the standardization of written (literary) Igbo *
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chapter 8|15 pages

Chinua Achebe and the problematics of writing in indigenous Nigerian languages

Towards a resolution of the Igbo language predicament *
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chapter 9|11 pages

The female voice—rebuttal and response to patriarchy

Julie Onwuchekwa’s Chinaagọrọm (1983)
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chapter 10|10 pages

Tony Uchenna Ubesie

The quintessential Igbo novelist *
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chapter 11|14 pages

Interviews with two major Igbo novelists

J.U.T. Nzeako and Chinedum Ofomata
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