One of Africa's leading female authors, Flora Nwapa used her work to promote the role of women in society. She was the first black African woman to have a novel published, and she founded Tana Press in 1977 to bring the works of African women to the public.
Born at Oguta in eastern Nigeria, Nwapa was educated in the cities of Lagos and Ibadan and at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She later worked as a teacher and college administrator in Nigeria. After the war in which the southeastern region of Nigeria tried to secede from the rest of the country, she served on the East Central State Executive Council. One of her works, Never Again, was a memoir of the war.
Nwapa's first novel, Efuru, tells the story of an IGBO woman who rises to prominence in her society as a trader and priestess. The novel reflects the author's view that African women can only achieve social independence through financial independence. The author of four novels, several collections of short stories, and many books for children, Nwapa was honored with many awards during her lifetime. (See also Literature, Publishing.)