Elechi Amadi (born 12 May 1934-29th of June 2016 ) was a Nigerian author of plays and novels that are generally about African village life, customs, beliefs and religious practices, as they were before contact with the Western world. Amadi is best regarded for his 1966 first novel, The Concubine, which has been called “an outstanding work of pure fiction”
Amadi received his B. Sc. in physics and mathematic in 1959. He worked in 1959-60 as a landsurveyor in Enugu and then as a science teacher in Protestant mission schools in Oba and Ahoada. In 1963 Amadi joined the Federal army with the rank of captain. He was assigned to teach at the military school in Zaria. After resigning, he worked as a teacher at the Anglican Grammar School in Port Harcourt. During the Nigerian civil war (1966-1970) Amadi was twice arrested and detained by the Biafran government – a former officer of the Nigerian army was politically a doubtful person. He joined the Federal army again and with the war’s end Amadi worked for the government of the newly constituted Rivers State, later becoming head of the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Education. From 1984 to 1987 he was writer-in-residence and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at College of Education in Port Harcour. In 1989-90 he served as Commissioner of Lands and Housing. Amadi was awarded in 1973 the International Writers Program grant, and in 1992 he received the Rivers State Silver Jubilee Merit award. In 2007, at the age of 74.
Elechi Amadi has said that his first publication was in 1957, a poem entitled “Penitence” in a University of Ibadan campus magazine called The Horn, edited by John Pepper Clark.
Amadi’s first novel, The Concubine, was published in London in 1966 and was hailed as a “most accomplished first performance”.Alastair Niven in his critical study of the novel wrote: “Rooted firmly among the hunting and fishing villages of the Niger delta, The Concubine nevertheless possesses the timelessness and universality of a major novel.”The Concubine was made into a film, written by Elechi Amadi and directed by accomplished Nollywood film director Andy Amenechi, which premiered in Abuja in March 2007.
The setting of Amachi’s second novel, The Great Ponds, published in 1969, is pre-colonial Eastern Nigeria, and is about the battle between two village communities over possession of a pond.
In 1973 Amadi autobiographical non-fiction, Sunset in Biafra, was published. It records his personal experiences in the Nigeria-Biafra war, and according to Niven “is written in a compelling narrative form as though it were a novel”
The most celebrated literary icon passed on, Wednesday, at the Good Heart hospital in Port Harcourt at the age of 82.