Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2008


Indiana University Press


Eddie Iroh made the observation that writers of his generation, who had lived through the Biafran conflict, were too close to the suffering to write the definitive accounts of the war, and that the task would fall to later generations. This essay looks at three later accounts Dulue Mbachu’s War Games (2005), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Uzodinma Iweala’s Beast of No Nation (2005) to assess the war’s impact on Nigerian cultural expression in the twenty-first century. As the eldest of the three writers, Mbachu lingers more on the war itself than do the other two, but far less than its contemporaries like Achebe. Adichie portray the war as a backdrop for interpersonal ethical questions, and Iweala, as an unnamed conflict that stands in the place of all such juggernauts against the poor, and especially these days against child soldiers.


This article was published as Hawley, J. C. (2008). Biafra as Heritage and Symbol: Adichie, Mbachu, and Iweala. Research in African Literatures, 39(2), 15–26. No part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press. For education reuse, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center. For all other permissions, contact IU Press.



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