Zaynab Alkali: Contribution as Nigerian Novelist

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      Zaynab Alkali: The first novelist to bring a Northern Nigerian female perspective to literature. Born in 1950 at Borno State, Northern Nigeria, her family had belonged to a devoutly Muslim ethnic group until her father moved the family to a predominantly Christian village shortly before her birth, a fact reflected in the background of conflicting belief systems in her fiction.

      Zaynab Alkali graduated in English from Ahmadu Bello University in 1973, and took her M.A. in African Literature in English there in 1979. She is married with six children and lectures in English and African literature at the University of Maiduguri in Borno State. Through a detailed evocation of village ritual, routine and idiom, her first novel, The Stillborn (1984), charts the lives of its female protagonists in a period of cultural contradiction and confusion in gender roles. Of her second novel, The Virtuous Woman, (1986), she has said it was 'deliberately moralistic... I feel our children are in desperate need of morals.' In 1995, she co-edited an anthology of fiction and poetry, Vultures in the Air: Voices from Northern Nigeria.

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