The Concubine (novel)

The Concubine is the debut novel by Nigerian writer Elechi Amadi originally published in 1966 as part of the Heinemann African Writers Series.

The Concubine
AuthorElechi Amadi
PublisherHeinemann African Writers Series
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Pages216 pp
Preceded by
Followed by'The Great Ponds 

Set in a remote village in Eastern Nigeria, an area yet to be affected by European values and where society is orderly and predictable, the story concerns a woman "of great beauty and dignity" who inadvertently brings suffering and death to all her lovers.

The novel portrays a society still ruled by traditional gods, offering a glimpse into the human relationships that such a society creates.

On its publication in London by Heinemann Educational Books, The Concubine was hailed as a "most accomplished first performance" and "an outstanding work of pure fiction".[1][2] A critical study of the novel was written by Alastair Niven, who called it: "an example of how an absence of conscious sophistication or experimentation can result in a novel of classic simplicity.... Rooted firmly among the hunting and fishing villages of the Niger delta, The Concubine nevertheless possesses the timelessness and universality of a major novel."[3]

The Concubine has been made into a film, written by Elechi Amadi and directed by Nollywood director Andy Amenechi; the film was premiered in Abuja in March 2007.[4]


  1. ^ Eustace Palmer, "Elechi Amadi and Flora Nwapa", African Literarture Today, no. 1, 1969, p. 56.
  2. ^ Eldred Jones, "African Literature 1966-1967", African Forum, vol. 3, no. 1, p.5.
  3. ^ Alastair Niven, A Critical View on Elechi Amadi's "The Concubine" (London, 1981), p. 7.
  4. ^ Elechi Amadi website, videos. Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine
  • East African Educational Publishers Ltd of Nairobi
  • Heinemann Educational Books Ltd of London