Nigerian writer Christopher Albani
was jailed in his home country for publishing some of his books. A number
of them were also banned in Nigeria before he sold rights to his first
U.S. novel, GraceLand, to Farrar Straus Giroux with the aide of agent Sandy Dijkstra.
Kalakuta Republic is a powerful collection of poems detailing
the harrowing experiences endured by Abani and others at the hands of
Nigeriaís military regime in the late 1980s. Abaniís poems are dedicated
to those who experienced but did not live through the suffering. In the
poems, he describes the characters that people this dark world, from the
prison inmates to their torturers, the generals. Kalakuta Republic
is based on Abani's experience as political prisoner between 1985 and 1991.
Chris Abani now teaches in the MFA Program at Antioch University in Los Angeles and is a
visiting assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside. A Middleton Fellow at the University of Southern
California, he is the recipient of the 2001 PEN USA Freedom-to-Write
Award, the 2001 Prince Claus Award, and a 2003 Lannan Literary Fellowship.