Cyprian Ekwensi

Jagua Nana
  • Jagua Nana

  • Bold, moving, entertaining and controversial, this is the great novel of 1960s Lagos life - with one of the most unforgettable heroines in literature.

    Jagua Nana, no longer young but still irresistible, lives a life of hedonism in Lagos: men, parties, fights, wild nights in the Tropicana with her handsome young boyfriend Freddie. Rushing from one experience to the next in search of something she can't quite grasp, Jagua finds herself embroiled in shady politics, caught up in village feuds and a source of drama wherever she goes. In this vivid depiction of 1960s Nigeria, everyone is hustling and everyone is on the make - and a woman like Jagua must find her own unconventional path to fulfilment.

Cyprian Ekwensi was born in Nigeria in 1921, the son of an elephant hunter. In early life, he worked as a forestry officer in Nigeria and as a pharmacist in Romford, Essex. On returning home, he wrote his first novel, People of the City (1954), which was one of the first Nigerian novels to be published internationally. Jagua Nana, his most famous book, appeared in 1961 and won the Dag Hammarskjöld prize in literature, though it was banned in schools and attacked by the church. In later life Ekwensi worked in broadcasting, politics and as a pharmacist, while writing over forty books and scripts. He died in 2008, survived by his wife and nine children.