The Nigerian literary icon's representatives said she passed away in her sleep on Wednesday morning (25Jan17) in London, England, where she has lived since 1960.

The late author and playwright published more than 20 critically acclaimed books, including Second-Class Citizen, The Bride Price, The Slave Girl and The Joys of Motherhood.

She first began writing about her experiences of Black British life in a regular column in the New Statesman, with a collection of these pieces becoming her first published book in 1972, In the Ditch.

Her literary canon's themes of child slavery, motherhood, female independence and freedom through education won her considerable critical acclaim and honours, including the Jock Campbell Award from the New Statesman in 1979, and the Order of the British Empire in 2005.

The mother-of-five was a widely-travelled visiting professor and lecturer, working at Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, the University of California, Los Angeles, Yale University, and the University of London.