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FG2BH Recommended Reads: “Onaedo – The Blacksmith’s Daughter”

July 31, 2010

Every now and then FG2BH gets really great e-mails from readers around the world on exciting, positive moves from noteworthy Africans. This time was no different when I received one for the new blog category – Recommended Reads. Dr. Ngozi Achebe (the niece of reowned author Chinua Achebe)  has release a promising piece of literature titled Onaedo: The Blacksmith’s Daughter. The book (which was officially release on March 21, 2010) focus loosely on the historical traditions of the Igbo Nigerian culture in the 16th century during the age of Portuguese discovery. Just from the first chapter alone I am thoroughly intrigued!

Recommended Reads ONAEDO

Summary: In The Blacksmith’s Daughter, Maxine, a modern American woman who is half white and half African, comes across a set of diaries written by a slave in the sixteenth century in her quest to connect with her Nigerian father. She tries to write a book about it. She uses elements of the discovered diaries in her book and also information she has discovered herself based on ancient stories retold to her by a collaborator.

The main character in her book, Onaedo, is a young woman from Igboland in West Africa who starts her life in an idyllic town in the heart of West Africa, with her own trials and tribulations as a young, independent minded girl growing up in a traditional society. As she comes of age, she finds herself in the middle of the incendiary events at the beginning of the African slave trade that change the course of history.

There are poignantly drawn sharp storylines and an unforgettable cast of characters and villains as the story moves to Sao Tome, a tiny sugar plantation island off the coast of West Africa and pulls a curtain back to reveal the life of the colonialists in the 16th century where there are twists and unexpected turns from beginning to end.

“The influence of the Portuguese on the African coast made me curious and fed my desire to find out more. It was a remarkable learning experience to look into the past from the comfort of the present and revisit the intense drama of the upheaval that accompanies the Portuguese slave trade and the horror and devastation that followed it.” – Dr. Ngozi Achebe.

Who is Dr. Ngozi Achebe? Ngozi Achebe was born in London and raised in Nigeria in a middleclass family; the daughter of Augustine, a civil engineer and Matilda, a nurse. Her uncle is Chinua Achebe, author, Professor at Brown University, and critic, best known for his book Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely read book in modern African literature. Her early unpublished writings were about the darkness of war and survival having been one of the children that lived through the Biafran war – a catastrophic event that engulfed 1960’s Nigeria and a potent definer of many childhood memories. She currently lives in Olympia, Washington and is a practicing physician.

Storytelling talent definitely runs in the Achebe family!  The book comes in hardcover ($25.75) and in paperback $16.75). Many thanks to Dr. Ngozi Achebe and Paul Krupin!


It’s quite easy to see why Onaedo became our first installment of Recommended Reads. To be apart of FG2BH Recommended Reads, please contact me.


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