- Category: PA 2011
Prolific poet, playwright and essayist Niyi Osundare was born in Ikere-Ekiti, Western Nigeria in 1947. He was educated at the University of Ibadan (B.A. Honours in English), University of Leeds (M.A. in Modern English) and York University, Toronto, (Ph.D. in English).
The author of over 16 poetry books, four plays, two books of essays, and numerous scholarly articles and reviews, Osundare is the recipient of numerous prizes which include the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Prize, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, the Noma Award (Africa's most prestigious Book Award) and the Tchicaya U Tam’si Award for African Poetry (widely recognised as Africa’s highest poetry prize), among others.
In 2004, Osundare’s award-winning book, The Eye of the Earth, was selected as ‘One of Nigeria’s Best 25 Books in the Past 25 Years’. He has also received honorary doctorates from l'Universite de Toulouse-Le Mirail in France and Franklin Pierce University, USA.
A leading figure in the popularization of written poetry in Nigeria, Osundare maintains a weekly poetry column in Nigeria's Sunday Tribune, a ‘Poem for the Month’ column in 234NEXT, and is a frequent contributor to the media on cultural and social matters. He is also a guest columnist forNewswatch, a prominent Nigerian newsmagazine, and an active contributor to public discourse on radio and television.
Osundare has performed his works in many parts of the world, and his poetry has been translated into French, Italian, Slovenian, Czech, Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, and Korean. A fervent campaigner for Human Rights, social justice, and the environment, he was professor and former Chair of English at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and is currently Distinguished Professor of English at the University of New Orleans, USA, and remains constantly in touch with Nigeria, his social and cultural base.