Emmanuel Ita Akpaka has been writing serious fiction since his teenaged years. He is a natural, a dyed-in-the-wool creative writer with an extraordinary talent, who wrote his first novel at fifteen while still in secondary school (high school).

As it were, he grew up in an environment primed for creativity. His father, Mark Uko Akpaka served in the Second World War with the Nigerian contingent to the Allied Forces war efforts as Nigeria was then a British colony and was obliged to contribute her quota to the war effort. He was in the medical corps and his service took him to various countries overseas, including India. The great man was an ardent lover of books and kept an impressive personal library.

Emmanuel remembers reading books like the “Arabian Nights, Tales from Shakespeare, Tales from Tolstoy, Pride and Prejudice, A Tale of Two Cities and classical Greek mythology like The Argonauts” while still in the primary school.

As if that was not enough to  hone his intellect and  stimulate his imagination, Emmanuel’s mother was a trained teacher and  also happened to be his first teacher in primary school when he was five years old. At age 10, he was writing short stories which he loved to read to his friends and classmates for their enjoyment.

Emmanuel Ita Akpaka’s critically-acclaimed and bestselling novel “A Cyclone of Dollars” was published in 1991. Marketed by the then ubiquitous Abiola Bookshops Ltd, it was an instant bestseller. A pulsating crime thriller tagged “The Crime of the Century”, “A Cyclone of Dollars” promised to open the flood-gates to cutting-edge fiction from Emmanuel Ita Akpaka. Akpaka earnestly planned to be a fulltime novelist to the exclusion of all else but certain developments conspired to puncture that plan.

The paucity of vibrant book distribution chains has long been a perennial problem in Nigeria and the advent of Abiola Bookshops Ltd in the 1990s was a welcome panacea. It was inarguably the most efficient book-chain in the country with depots in strategic towns and cities across the country. When that bookshop chain unexpectedly went out of business as a result of unforeseen circumstances, it was a major blow to the publishing trade.

The intractable problem of piracy and the fierce nature of the Nigerian publishing industry conspired to dampen the resolve to write books. It became evident that one could not function as a full time novelist in the country and find it feasible to pay one’s bills.

Over the years, Emmanuel Ita Akpaka went into publishing of magazines and newspapers, founding a bouquet of magazines such as Music Master (1982), Megastar (1986) And The Dialogue (2014). Besides being a seasoned publisher, Akpaka is also an avid filmmaker who has produced and directed notable documentaries, African Songs and Dances (1997) for instance.

In 1984, he published The Adventures of Ribadu Fox (1984) arguably the first graphic novel to be published in Nigeria and Fabu (1985), an intellectual humour magazine. Two more graphic novels followed; The Adventure Of Mungo Park and The Adventures Of David Livingstone in The Unfortunate Explorers Series.