"The Lake Goddess" Released March 2023

It was a proud day to celebrate the release of this wonderful, and enigmatic book: The Lake Goddess. Until now, only published in Nigeria, I wanted to celebrate the work of Flora Nwapa and publish this posthumous book to a wider audience. I had the privilege of not only editing the book (with my Editor's Introduction) but also designed the cover.

Rather than depicting any perceived dark and mysterious theme, and the legendary figure of Ogbuide (the Lake Goddess herself), I wanted to reflect the vibrancy of the story's real-world lake region of Oguta as well as the people and their traditions.

Paperback (Feb/March 2023)

20 March 2023: I spent the day with Ejine Nzeribe, showing her damp Oxford, talking about her mother Flora Nwapa, and Flora’s novel, The Lake Goddess, which we published in the UK this month 📖 and ending with some ugba (oil bean seed) from Ona Nwelue ❤️🌶️

Read my Editor's Introduction to the new edition below...

Ugba (oil bean seeds)

Ejine Nzeribe and Stephen

Ejine Nzeribe (left), Stephen, Ona Nwelue (right)

Editor's Introduction:

“Ogbuide wants every woman to have a voice.” 

It has been a privilege to work with Flora Nwapa’s family — her three children, Ejine Nzeribe, Amede Nzeribe, and Uzoma Nwakuche — and seeing their commitment to their mother’s legacy, ensuring it is kept alive in a world, which will always yearn for the magic of Ogbuide, The Lake Goddess. The Lake Goddess is a testament to the power of traditions, beliefs and heritage, in a world quick to minimise the importance of cosmologies, of the eons of ancestors trying to make sense of the world around them, and calling on something greater than themselves for guidance. 

I wanted to have an understanding of who Flora Nwapa was, and continues to be, for three individuals who have remained steadfast custodians of their mother’s work, and in particular, the bold task of having posthumously published The Lake Goddess in 2019, decades after her passing. Thirty years is a long time, but just below the surface reside the memories of their lives together, hints at where Flora Nwapa was in her own life when she wrapped up the manuscript for The Lake Goddess, and the day-to-day lives not often spoken of, when The Lake Goddess is very much that – the day-to- day lives of a community rationalising the old and the new. For Ejine and I, our first face-to-face meeting in Lagos in 2022 was an emotional one: speaking of mothers and who they are to us, being brought up by them and growing up to see who they are in our world, and to the rest of the world. Ejine shared the turmoil of the political climate as a girl and her profound experiences of her mother, and remarkably, the direct experience of The Lake Goddess herself when forced to leave their old lives and home behind. And we are indebted to Obioma Nnaemeka, who edited the version that we are publishing. 

As the first woman published under the original African Writers Series, Flora Nwapa’s Efuru was bold in its approach and representation of her world and worldview. To me, The Lake Goddess is even bolder. It was a pleasant surprise to read the connection to Efuru within the narrative, tying her first novel to her final work. Flora Nwapa’s characters face the world head on and express their views, with few grey areas. They argue, as I imagine Flora Nwapa did within herself, or in conversations with others, for a changing world to better understand how they function on tradition versus new ideas, and the strength in the feminine aspect of society and beliefs, revealing a deeper thread of higher power within us all. 

Stephen Embleton 

Oxford, December 2022 

The Lake Goddess by Flora Nwapa (2023 Edition)

Paperback (Feb/March 2023)

Ejine gifted me a copy of two of Flora Nwapa's plays recently published in Nigeria:

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