Yema Lucilda Hunter

Sierra Leonean librarian, novelist, and biographer Yema Lucilda Hunter passed away in Accra, Ghana on Sunday, August 21, 2022.

Yema Lucilda Caulker was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 15 July 1943 to Richard Edmund Kelfa-Caulker and Olivette Hannah Stuart. Her father was a diplomat and educationist became the first African principal of the Albert Academy and later had a distinguished diplomatic career including serving as Sierra Leone High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ambassador to the United States. Her mother came from a prominent African-Caribbean family whose grandfather, Melvin Stuart, was the Collector of Customs who came from the Bahamas in 1878 to work for the colonial administration.  

For many years she worked as a librarian for the Sierra Leone Library Board, in the Medical Library at Connaught Hospital in Freetown, before going to Congo-Brazzaville to head the Library and Health Information unit at the Regional Office for Africa of the World Health Organization. She took early retirement in 1999 and in that same year was made a Fellow of the British Library Association.

Lucilda authored six novels and a work of non-fiction: Road to freedom (1982), Mother and daughter: memoirs and poems (1983), Bittersweet (1989), An African treasure: in search of Gladys Casely-Hayford, 1904-1950 (2008), Builders: the Annie Walsh story, 1849-2009 (2009), Nanna (2014), Her name was Aina: a historical novel (2018).  

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