I am an Anglo-Nigerian writer born in 1953 and currently living in Lagos, Nigeria. I have published a number of books, including Loyalties and Other Stories, In My Father's Country, How many miles to Babylon?, A Mask Dancing, Who's Afraid of Wole Soyinka?, From Khaki to Agbada, Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa and Other Essays, A Peculiar Tragedy, and Counting the Cost, as well as the 1998 and 1999 annual reports on human rights violations in Nigeria. I also edited The Heinemann Book of African Poetry in English, Wole Soyinka: An Appraisal, Christopher Okigbo: Collected Poems, The New Gong Book of New Nigerian Short Stories, and Dream Chasers: New Nigerian Stories. I have published essays and book reviews in Granta, London Review of Books, TLS, London Magazine, Prospect and many others.
I currently run YEMAJA, an editorial services agency. I also have a small publishing company, The New Gong: www.thenewgong.com, and maintain a blog: http://www.majapearce.blogspot.com. I am married to Juliet Ezenwa, the artist: www.julietezenwa.com. I enjoy reading (naturally), watching movies and travelling, having wandered extensively throughout Africa when I was Africa editor of INDEX ON CENSORSHIP, the London-based magazine of free expression (1986-97). I was also former editor of the now defunct Heinemann African Writers Series (1986-94), and am currently editor of the Nelson Literary Series (an imprint of Evans Brothers Nigeria Ltd), a new initiative for publishing original fiction without compromising on editorial or production values. I have a BA from the University College of Swansea, Wales (1972-75) and an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1984-86). Interesting details? Reviews for A Peculiar Tragedy might qualify:
'I would...recommend this...book. Maja-Pearce spent a lot of time developing and accessing numerous sources. The cited sources alone are worth the...cost... It is a gossipy, fairly entertaining and engaging book written in an accessible style. [The author] provides several useful insights about the lives of Clark, Achebe, Soyinka and Okigbo... In the book, he deploys intellectual muscle and rigour to the analysis of plays...'
Ikhide E. Ikheola, NEXT on Sunday, 10 April 2011
'What Maja-Pearce has done in the book is nothing short of character assassination.'
Abiola Irele, former Professor at Harvard University, TheNEWS, 12 December 2011
'It's one of the most scurrilous products it has ever been my misfortune to encounter. I have never encountered so many lies, so many [sic] pettiness. (It is) a poor, miserable supposed work of research; most inaccurate.'
Professor Wole Soyinka, 1986 Nobel laureate, Daily Independent, 14 December 2011
'A compendium of outright impudent lies, fish market gossip, unanchored attributions, trendy drivel and name dropping, this is a ghetto tract that tries to pass itself up as a product of research, and has actually succeeded in fooling at least one respectable scholar.'
Professor Wole Soyinka (again!), saharareporters, 17 May 2013
'...in a class all its own. It is well researched, written with wit, and represents a major contribution, indeed a great service to Nigerian letters, all the more so for its thoroughgoing iconoclasm... Maja-Pearce is an exacting, plain-speaking, self-deprecating and self-critical writer.'
Dr Akin Adesokan, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Indiana University, Sunday Guardian, 25 December 2011
Overheard in a Beer Parlour in Ajegunle, Lagos