Lifestyle & Belief

Nigerian author Chinua Achebe publishes new book, "There Was a Country," a memoir of Biafran war


Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is pictured in 2009 during a welcoming ceremony upon his return to Nigeria for the firrst time in over 10 years. Achebe, whose most famous work is 1958's "Things Fall Apart," has published his long-awaited memoir, "There Was a Country," about the Biafran war.



Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe has published a much-anticipated memoir of the Biafran war.

Achebe's new book, "There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra," recounts the 1967-1970 war when Biafra tried to secede from Nigeria.

Achebe, 81, is one of the Africa's most famous authors, best known for his debut novel "Things Fall Apart" published in 1958. He is often called the father of modern African literature, Agence France-Presse said.

"There Was a Country" was published in the UK on Thursday by Allen Lane, a division of Penguin, and will soon be released in Nigeria, according to AFP. It will be released in the United States on October 11.

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria’s Boko Haram gets serious

Biafra is an eastern region of Nigeria inhabited mainly by the Igbo people. It tried to split off for reasons including massacres of Igbos in the country's north.

Achebe was a strong supporter of this move to independence, and served as a roving cultural ambassador for Biafra.

For more than 40 years, Achebe has remained silent about his experiences during the war, and has spent much of his time in the US, including at Brown University where he is now a professor.

"Now, years in the making, comes his towering reckoning with one of modern Africa's most fateful experiences, both as he lived it and he has now come to understand it," a publishers' description of the book said.

Nigeria remains a country with deep divisions and an ongoing insurgency by the Islamist group Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic state in the country's mainly Muslim north. Attacks targeting Christians have killed an estimated 1,000 people since 2010.

In January, Achebe joined Nigerian playwright, author, poet and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka in expressing fears for the country's future, and warning that Nigeria may be headed again towards civil war. 

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria should be a land of riches