The prize-winning 81-year-old Nigerian author and academic, Prof Chinua Achebe has released his long-awaited memoir, ‘There Was a Country’ in the United Kingdom yesterday.
After being silent about his Biafran war experience, the much anticipated work describes the brutal three-year Biafran war, in which he acted as roving cultural ambassador for the Biafran Republic when the south-eastern area tried to split from Nigeria in 1967.
As one of Africa’s best known authors, Mr Achebe’s debut 1958 novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ has sold more than 10 million copies and published in numerous languages all over the world. In all of his writings until now, he has never addressed the details of his experience during the Biafran war, in which he was caught up with his young family – except occasionally in his poetry.
“There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid observation and considered research and reflection,” Mr Achebe’s UK publisher Allen Lane says. 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”.
Prof Achebe has lived in the US since he suffered a car accident in 1990, which left him paralysed and in a wheelchair.
The memoir is due to be released in Nigeria shortly and in the US on 11 October.