Dr Abba Abba

UK Host Institution: University of Reading
Project status

Documenting Trauma: Reclaiming Unpublished Biafran Voices in the Heinemann African Writers Series Archive

This research aims to interrogate the archival and literary evidence of Heinemann's minoritization of Biafran voices and politicisation of publishing them during the Nigeria-Biafra war. It argues that some significant publisher-author correspondences and unpublished materials reflecting the perspectives of Biafran authors, which are kept at the African Writers Series' Archive at the University of Reading, can function as research tools for engaging and reclaiming the perceived "rebel" authors’ voices and the publisher's ambivalent circumstances during the war.

Focusing on developing research collaborations with colleagues at Reading, the project relies on postcolonial reading of Homi Bhabha's “Third space” as a theoretical strategy to examine how these materials represent Biafrans as “outsiders within” Nigeria. Deploying archival methodology and its application to literary intersectionality, it teases out why Biafran voices fall through the cracks in the war’s historicity through an analysis of their experiences in selected documents and unpublished materials on the war.

Outputs and media

'Heinemann and Biafractivist Authors: Politics of Publishing the Rebel'

Paper presented at the University of Reading - 7 December 2023

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