Onitsha Market Literature consists of stories, plays, advice and moral discourses published primarily in the 1960s by local presses in the lively market town of Onitsha, an important commercial site in the Igbo-speaking region of southeastern Nigeria. In the fresh and vigorous genre of Onitsha Market Literature, the commoner wrote pulp fiction and didactic handbooks for those who perused the bookstalls of Onitsha Market, one of Africa’s largest trading centers.
Until 1977 my father and uncle had scores of these pamphlets in original copies. We exchanged them a lot among us then in the villages before the 'craze' for James Hardely Chase, Nick Cater etc swept in to destroy everything or take us to other developments?.........Was it GLOBALIZATION ?
In the '80 many youths went into writing short stories in pamphlets but that was short lived as film making has taken the whole stage.Nollywood, Nollywood .....na you biko!! or the real 'ebe-ano' as Enugu people would say.
Do we still write?
Do we still write?
I came close to these literatures some years ago during a specialization course in Cultural mediation in the Rome University. An Italian lecturer who has never been to Nigeria but with a surprising knowledge of Nigerian literatures, used these literatures to explain the "understanding of a people in a time space through their literature" One of those days you are proud of Naija. I was the only Nigerian in the (course) and faculty.
Hit HERE for the story of the Onitsha market literature phenomenon.
Click HERE to see the bibliography(101) of the pamphlets and HERE for to have access to 21 digitalized pamphlets in a digital library.
Many thanks to the University of Kansas for the archives and all those who put these materials on the net.
Twenty-one pamphlets from Onitsha Market appear here fully digitized and annotated to exemplify styles of expression found in this intriguing form of African popular literature. They are part of a unique collection of 101 pamphlets from Onitsha now held at the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas.