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Feminist Citation in Buchi Emecheta’s early fiction and autobiography: publishing race, class, and gender

Wilson, N. ORCID: (2023) Feminist Citation in Buchi Emecheta’s early fiction and autobiography: publishing race, class, and gender. In: Carroll, R. and Tolan, F. (eds.) Routledge Companion to Literature and Feminism. Routledge literature companions. Routledge. ISBN 9780367410261

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This chapter explores the writing and publication of Buchi Emecheta’s first novels, In the Ditch (1972) and Second-Class Citizen (1974), through her writers’ memoir, Head Above Water (1986). Tracing Emecheta’s early encounters with literary publishing as a ‘Nigerian Writer Living in London’ (Emecheta 1982), I consider how Emecheta’s writing and publishing journey was intersected by class, gender and race. In her early London novels and autobiography, Emecheta employs practices of citation to highlight the significance of individual writers, as well as specific women agents and publishers, to the production of her work. This chapter follows these leads to consider Emecheta’s first literary texts in relation to the sociological and publishing frameworks she calls attention to. In the Ditch was initially published in the New Statesman, serialised thanks to one of its editors, Corinna Adam. Emecheta moved to publishers Allison and Busby with her second novel, working with Margaret Busby, a leading black female publisher. This chapter puts Emecheta’s early publishing career into broader context, showing how she was a forerunner to the wider emergence and institutional support for black women’s writing in the 1980s. The chapter also addresses Emecheta’s ambivalent relationship to feminism through her essays and personal experience of the Women’s Liberation Movement.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing (CBCP)
ID Code:106205

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