Tanure Ojaide’s seventeen poetry collections include Labyrinths of the Delta (1986), The Fate of Vultures (1990), The Tale of the Harmattan (2007), The Beauty I Have Seen (2010), and Love Gifts (2013). His other writings are: two memoirs, Great Boys: An African Childhood (1998) and Drawing the Map of Heaven: An African Writer in America (2012); three collections of short stories including God’s Medicine Men & Other Stories (2004) and The Old Man in a State House (2012); four novels, including The Activist (2006) and Matters of the Moment (2009); and seven scholarly books, including Poetic Imagination in Black Africa (1996), Poetry, Performance, and Art: Udje Dance Songs of the Urhobo People and Contemporary African Literature: New Approaches (2012). His poems have been anthologized in dozens of major anthologies, including The Poetry of Men’s Lives: An International Anthology (2004), Emergency Kit: Poems for Strange Times (1996), and Border Lines: Contemporary Poems in English (1995). Ojaide was educated at the University of Ibadan, where he received a bachelor’s degree in English, and Syracuse University, where he received both the M.A. in Creative Writing and Ph.D. in English. A Fellow in Writing of the University of Iowa, his poetry awards include the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for the Africa Region (1987), the All-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry (1988, 1997), the BBC Arts and Africa Poetry Award (1988), and the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Award (1988, 1994, 2003, and 2011). Sovereign Body was a runner-up for The Commonwealth Literature Prize for the Africa Region in 2005. His non-fiction, Drawing the Map of Heaven: An African Writer’s Experience of America, was a runner-up for the Penguin Prize for African Writing (2010). Ojaide is currently the Frank Porter Graham Professor of Africana Studies at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has received the National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship (1999/2000) and twice the Fulbright fellowship (2002/03 and 2013/14). He has read from his poetry in many places, including Harbourfront (Canada), International Poetry Festival, Medellin (Colombia), Pan-Africa Poetry Festival, Accra (Ghana), World Poetry Festival, Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Poetry Africa (South Africa), and Sahitya Akademi World Poetry Festival, New Delhi (March 21-24, 2014). Two international conferences have been held at Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria, in July 2005 and July 2008 to discuss Ojaide’s writings. Ojaide was the 2005 recipient of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s First Citizens Bank Scholar Award for his creative writing and scholarship. His poetry has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Sanskrit, and Hindi.
- Ph.D., Syracuse University
- M.A., Syracuse University
- B.A., University of Ibadan-Nigeria
Areas of Interest:
- African/Pan-African/Black Literatures
- Non-Western, World & Postcolonial Literatures and Creative Writing (Poetry)
- Oral Poetic Performance of Africa and the African Diaspora
Recent Books and Essays:
In the House of Words (Lagos: Malthouse Press Ltd., 2006)
The Activist (Lagos: Farafina, 2006)
(Re)Ordering the African Imagination: Literary Essays (Lagos: Malthouse, 2007)
The Tale of the Harmattan (Cape Town, SA: Kwela Books, 2007)
Dictionary of Literary Biography: Contemporary African Writers. Volume Editor (for Bruccoli Clark/Gale Research, 2008).
Waiting for the Hatching of a Cockerel: A Neo-Epic Song (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2008).
The Debt-Collector and Other Stories (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2009).
Matters of the Moment (2009)
Theorizing African Oral Poetic Performance and Aesthetics (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2009).
Poetry, Performance, and Art: Udje Dance Songs of the Urhobo People (2012)
Contemporary African Literature: New Approaches (2012)
Love Gifts (2013)
Works in Progress:
- In the Land of Spirits (a memoir)
- More Than Words (poetry)
- Performance Aesthetics in African Poetry
- AFRS 1100 – Introduction to Africana Studies
- AFRS 2206 – African Literature, Music, & Art
- AFRS 3290 – Research Methods
- AFRS 3601 – Senior Seminar
- AFRS 3692 – Colloquium
- AFRS 4101 – African Literature in English
- AFRS 4102 – Caribbean Literature in English
- AFRS 4155/5155 – Pan-African Literature
- AFRS 4100 The Folklore of Africa and the African Diaspora
- LBST 2212 African Culture and Literature