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Florence Nwanzuruahu Nkiru Nwapa was born January 18, 1931 in Oguta, East Central State, Nigeria. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from University College, Ibadan in 1957, and a Diploma in Education from University of Edinburgh the following year. Upon her return to Nigeria, she joined the Ministry of Education in Clabar as an Education Officer until 1959. She then accepted a teaching position at Queen's School in Enugu, where she taught English and Geography
from 1969-71. She continued to work in both education and civil service in several positions, including: Assistant Registrar, University of Lagos (1962-1976), Minister of Health and Social Welfare, East Central State (1970-71), and Minister of Lands, Survey and Urban Development (1971-74).
Flora Nwapa began her career as an author with the publication of Efuru in 1966. Nwapa is often credited with being the first African woman to publish in English (although some controversy exists around this claim). She followed with her second novel, Idu, in 1971. After publication of these two novels, Nwapa became unsatisfied with the publicity and distribution efforts by her publisher, Heinemann Educational. In 1974, she founded Tana Press, Ltd and in 1977, Flora Nwapa
Books. She published the rest of her works, as well as many other works from other writers, through one of her two publishing companies.
Nwapa continued her career as an educator throughout her life, teaching at colleges and universities around the world, including among others, New York University, Trinity College, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and University of Ilorin. Flora Nwapa died at the age of 62 in 1993.

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