Bellagio Library/

Breakup: A Marriage in Wartime

by Anjan Sundaram

Anjan participated in the Bellagio residency program in 2019. During this residency, he worked on Breakup: A Marriage in Wartime (Catapult, 2023). Anjan is an author, journalist, academic, and television presenter. He is the author of two other journalism memoirs, Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo (2013) and Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship (2016).

A few words with Anjan

“I discovered the tone for this book during my Bellagio residency by discussing these pages with fellow residents, and reading books by past residents in the Bellagio library. A host of new ideas also bloomed at Bellagio during my conversations there, which stimulated my creative instincts in complementary ways, helping me to focus on the book. My conversations led to a follow-up residency and research project at the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles, focusing on technology, religion, and nature.”


After ten years of reporting from Central Africa, Anjan Sundaram finds himself living a quiet life in Shippagan, Canada, with his wife and newborn. But when word arrives of preparations for ethnic cleansing in the Central African Republic (CAR), he is suddenly torn between his duty as a husband and father, and his moral responsibility to report on a conflict unseen by the world.

Soon he is traveling through the CAR, with a driver who may be a spy, bearing witness to ransacked villages with locals fleeing imminent massacre, fielding offers of mined gold, and hearing stories of soldiers who steal school books for rolling paper. When he refuses to return home, journeying instead into a rebel stronghold, he learns that there is no going back to the life he left behind.

Breakup illuminates the personal price that war correspondents pay as they bear witness to humanitarian crimes across the world.

Explore More

To find out more about Anjan’s work, you can visit his website or follow him on Twitter. You can also watch his TED Talk from 2017 titled, “Why I risked my life to expose a government massacre.”