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Surviving Biafra: A Nigerwife’s Story

Tue 7 January, 6pm
Running Time: 1 hour

Rosina Umelo and Elizabeth Bird will discuss their book Surviving Biafra: A Nigerwife’s Story which recounts Umelo’s first-hand contemporary account of living through the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, moving her family from village to village as the war closed in around them.

Rosina 'Rose' Martin had married John Umelo, a young Nigerian she met in London, later moving with him to Nigeria shortly before the war, which followed the 1967 secession of Eastern Nigeria – now named Biafra. When it ended in 1970, up to 2 million people had died, most from starvation. Rosina Umelo’s notes and observations captured the reality of living in Biafra – from excitement in the beginning to despair towards the end. Anthropologist S Elizabeth Bird, author of The Asaba Massacre: Trauma, Memory, and the Nigerian Civil War, edited and contextualised Umelo’s story, providing background on the progress of the war and international reaction to it, especially in Britain. As noted by the Times Literary Supplement, the book, in “putting ordinary people to the fore, reminds us that women often pay the greatest price in war." 

Tickets £9 (£6 concessions)

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The front cover of the book Surviving Biafra: A Nigerwife's Story by Rosina Umelo and Elizabeth Bird

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