Author Profile: Adewale Maja-Pearce

Adewale Maja-Pearce tends to describe himself as an Anglo-Nigerian. Born of a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, Maja-Pearce spent his childhood and teenage years in Lagos before returning to the U.K. for his university education in the 1970s. It was there that his writing career took off with the publication of Loyalties and Other Stories and the autobiographical In My Father’s Country: A Nigerian Journey.

Adewale Maja-Pearce

In the decade from the mid-1980s, Maja-Pearce was at various times the editor of Heinemann publishers’ African Writers Series (founded by Chinua Achebe) and Africa editor of the London-based magazine for free expression, Index on Censorship. Since the mid-1990s, Maja-Pearce has lived in Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling commercial capital, where he features frequently in the literary and arts circuits.

His other books include How many miles to Babylon?, A Mask Dancing: Nigerian Novelists of the Eighties, and Who’s Afraid of Wole Soyinka? He has also edited The Heinemann Book of African Poetry in English and Wole Soyinka: An Appraisal. He currently lives in Lagos, where he runs YEMAJA, an editorial
services agency.

Under The New Gong he has published a book of essays, Who is Afraid of Ken Saro-Wiwa, A Peculiar Tragedy (a biography of foremost Nigerian poet and playwright, J.P. Clarke-Berkederemo, and edited The New Gong Book of New Nigerian Short Stories.

Ken Saro-Wiwa aroused powerful emotions in his life, and his death by hanging on the orders of General Sani Abacha shook the world. The sainthood of Saro-Wiwa has been promoted in much of the media, but some polemical voices assert that he was
more sinner than saint. In the title essay of Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa and Other Essays, Adewale Maja-Pearce strikingly
delves beyond the myths into the man in full, warts and all, portraying an ambitious protagonist who initially cultivated powerful friends in the military, in government and business but ended up tragically through judicial murder engendered by the fratricidal crossfire of the Ogoni struggle. Like its subject,
controversy dogged every step of this book, and the publishing was nearly stopped as people took positions without reading a
word of it. Now that the book is finally out the public is gifted with the pristine opportunity of dipping into the immense world of Maja-Pearce as he, in twenty-three heartfelt essays and reviews, illuminates the benighted mores of modern Nigeria, the identity question in South Africa, the evil politics from cape to coast of Africa, and the seminal minds across the world. This book is a treasure, a profound testament. – Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

The New Gong Book of New Nigerian Short Stories, edited by Adewale Maja-Pearce, showcases in a single volume the range of good writing coming out of Nigeria. This voluome features the following authors: Omale Allen Abdul Jabhar, Folu Agoi, Unomah Azuah, A. Igoni Barrett, Babatunde Alade Dawodu, Eghosa Imasuen, Dulue Mbachu, Razinat Mohammed, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Tolu Ogunlesi, Wilson Orhiunu, Sumaila Umaisha, Chika Unigwe, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Jumoke Verissimo and Molara Wood.

This is a critical biography of one of the pioneers of modern Nigerian literature, JP Clark. The book is based on several interviews with the subject and research conducted in Nigeria and abroad.