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I didn’t choose to write about Biafra, Biafra chose me, recall how parents lost everything during Nigerian war against Biafra – Chimamanda

“I have to say I didn’t choose to write about Biafra. Biafra chose me. My family survived the war. My parents lost everything they owned. My brother Chucks was born during the war”.

As millions around the world, especially people of the old eastern region known as Biafran land marks year of Biafra day to commemorates with Biafra fallen heroes.

A novelist-cum-feminist, Chimamanda Adichie, is not left out as she recalled how her parents lost everything, they owned during Nigerian war against the Biafran in 1967 to 1970.

Thank you to everyone who sent in questions about HALF OF A YELLOW SUN. I’ve answered some of them here.

Today, May 30, is Biafra Rememberance Day.
It has been 50 years since the end of the Nigeria-Biafra war.

In memory of Nwoye David Adichie and Aro-Nweke Felix Odigwe, the grandfathers I never knew. Ka fa nodu na ndokwa.

May We Always Remember. Biafra, Biafraday and ozoemena she wrote.

Speaking during a session with readers to mark Biafra day, she said, aside from the fact that both of her grandfathers died in separate refugee camps at the time, her family’s life trajectory had been sharply changed and divided after their numerous losses.

“I have to say I didn’t choose to write about Biafra. Biafra chose me. My family survived the war. My parents lost everything they owned. My brother Chucks was born during the war”.

“I would say that my family’s trajectory was sharply divided and changed by the war. For me, there was before the war, and after the war. I was born seven years after the war ended.

“But I always felt that it was present in our lives. Both of my grandfathers died in it and I grew up hearing about them. I think I just have always wanted to make sense of this part of my history.”

Recounting her experience writing ‘Half of A Yellow Sun’, Chimamanda said she would sometimes read about certain events and break down in tears such that depression hit when she finished the book.

According to her, not experiencing the war first-hand contributed to the resilience that had prodded her, yet, the task would later take a toll on her mental health due to personal accounts.

“Lots of research went into writing the novel. I wanted to get the facts right. I started researching Biafra when I was 12 that I wrote a terrible play about Biafra when I was 16,” the author said.

“So, I’ve been reading about Biafra for a long time. But when I really felt I wanted to write the novel, I looked at archives, listened to the newspaper from that period, looked at newspaper cuttings.

“I wanted to immerse myself in that period, try and get a sense of what it felt like. Did writing Half of A Yellow Sun affect my mental health? Yes. Because this book was so much about my family.

“It was so much about what my parents and their generation went through. When researching, I would read something about a refugee camp, and I would just stop and cry.

“I thought that it could very well have been when my grandfather died because they passed away in two different refugee camps. Looking at pictures was also quite tough.

“Writing the book felt like being held by something, as though my ancestors wanted me to do this. I thought, when I finished it, I would be free. But I sank into my deepest, darkest depressions.”

Written by Chuks

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