Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Author’s bio

The author

Catherine Onyemelukwe

Catherine Onyemelukwe is the author of the memoir Nigeria Revisited, My Life and Loves Abroad. She writes about her twenty-four years in Nigeria, starting as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1962 and returning to the United States in 1986. She has  taught, lectured and written about her experiences in her memoir and in articles and essays.

Her memoir reflects on her experiences during those years as she changed from an idealistic though naïve Peace Corps volunteer to an experienced educator, parent and entrepreneur.

Catherine has spoken in Unitarian Universalist congregations,  adult education settings, libraries, and classrooms from kindergarten to college level. Her talks in libraries and her classes in Nigerian History and Culture are always well-received. She uses her adopted extended Nigerian family to explain issues of the developing world, especially Africa. She invites audiences and readers to experience the culture of Nigeria though her descriptions of  daily life and unusual situations.


  1. I just completed reading your very honest memoir and enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you for writing it. Did you keep a journal during your life to help you recall all the incidents you site? That helped me with my soon to be published memoir of my Peace Corps years. I too married a native of the country the Peace Corps sent me to (Peru, near Cusco) in 1964-66. I identify with so many of the experiences you had. A main difference is that my husband & I have lived in California for the past 51 years where we raised our two sons. I’ll submit a very positive review to Amazon. I hope you will write a sequel.

    • Wow! Thank you so much, Evelyn. I have written another book, though it is not exactly a sequel. I’ve just finished editing it and will proceed with publishing very soon. It’s about customs and culture and how they teach a sense of belonging. I’m going to write about it in my blog tonight, and ask for advice on title! I hope you’ll comment.
      No, I didn’t keep a journal. I wish I had. Please let me know when you publish. Thanks for saying you’ll post a positive review on Amazon.

  2. Hello Catherine,

    It was really nice to see you again this evening.

    Thank you for the wonderful presentation on Nigeria.

    You took me on a memory lane during your presentation. I grew up in the 60’s and left Nigeria 37 years ago. I can’t wait to dig into your book. I loved your optimism about Nigeria.

    My only suggestion is to drop the use of tribes in favor of ethnic groups as tribes connotes negative stereotypes and backwardness about non western societies. The Igbo people are well traveled and highly educated and I can’t imagine how tribe best describes them.

    • Thank you, Pat. Please remind me where we met before? I’m going to include your comment about the word tribes in my blog now and see if others have thoughts about it. Certainly it affects you directly, and me only indirectly, so I probably should defer to your preference!

  3. Hello Madam, My name is Uzodinma Okpechi a filmmaker from Nigeria. Currently I am working on a documentary on Biafra, still at the early stages though.
    Please, if and when we get to the stage production, would you please oblige us for an interview?
    Meanwhile I read your interview with Ainehi Edoro, it was a good one. I am looking forward to buying your book.
    Remain lifted.

  4. Hello, I just finished reading Americanah and I LOVED it. Then I saw the name Onyemelukwe in the acknowledgments and I remembered that was my teacher’s name when I lived in Nigeria as a child. Did you teach at the International School?
    I must get a copy of your book, it might bring back some childhood memories!

    • Hello, Martha. Yes, I did teach at AIS from 1965 to 1977, I think it was, interrupted by the war in Nigeria. That’s my son named in the acknowledgements. I too loved Americanah. And I do hope you’ll read my memoir, then let me know what you think!

  5. I just finished reading your memoirs and would like to commend you for sharing your experiences with the world. It was refreshingly honest and a pleasure to read. I wish you and your family all the best.

    • Thank you, Lynda. I appreciate your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed reading the memoir. I’d be very grateful if you were able to take a moment to post a review on Amazon. You can just say what you said in the comment!

  6. Greetings, ma. Got engrossed about your story in Nigeria, Igbo nationality for that matter. I am young man with indubitable literary finesse(though I read Engineering in the University). I have a good number of poems I want to publish, but not here in Nigeria. Can you be of help?

    • Thank you for your note, Obinna. I’m sorry but I’m not able to help you with publishing your poems. I published my memoir with Peace Corps Writers. If you are on LinkedIn you might look for a group of poetry wrtiers – you might find help or suggestions there. Ji sie ike.

  7. Pingback: Seven Wonders of Igbo Culture | Catherine Onyemelukwe

  8. Good day, madam
    Here in Nanka, the family of onyemelukwe are seen as one of the most influential family in anambra and nigeria as a whole,am glad to know that a resourceful woman like u is one of our own.
    However madam, would like to know how to contact u, if u don’t mind 4 pressing issues, look 4ward getting a copy of your book here in nigeria,thanks

  9. Good morning Catherine,

    I saw your name on a pal’s blog, Pearl Osibu. I grew up with an Onyemelukwe as a child in Aba (Abia State, Nigeria). My pals name is Daniel Onyemelukwe…..Are you guys related per chance?

  10. Had NO idea you lived in Nigeria for nearly 1/4 century! Look forward, indeed, to your memoir. Let me know if you’ll consider doing book signing/reading in Harlem, at my all-time fave local book store.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.