There was a country: Chinua Achebe breaks long silence, publishes Biafran memoir

by Isi Esene

Chinua Achebe, one of Africa’s most legendary writer, has published his long-awaited memoir about his experience during the Nigerian Civil War which broke out in 1967.

The world renowned writer has been silent about the war for over 40 years during which he acted as a roving cultural ambassador for Biafra when the south-eastern area of the country decided to secede.

Achebe, whose new work is titled ‘There was a country’, has written a lot about the failure of leadership in the country following the war but has never addressed the atrocities of the Biafran war, in which he was caught up with his young family.

Allen Lane, Achebe’s UK publisher reportedly described the memoir as “a distillation of vivid observation and considered research and reflection. It relates Nigeria’s birth pangs in the context of Achebe’s own development as a man and a writer, and examines the role of the artist in times of war.”

Achebe’s debut 1958 novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ has sold more than 10 million copies. The memoir is published in the UK on Thursday and is due to be released in Nigeria shortly.

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