2016 Visiting African Artist | March 16-18 

Poet, Author, & Educator
Niyi Osundare, Ph.D.

ABOUT THE Visiting artist SERIES

The Visiting African/African Diaspora Artist Series is a partnership between the University of Michigan-Flint and the Flint Public Library, funded in part by the Ruth Mott Foundation. The Series brings authors, poets, playwrights, and journalists of African descent to Flint, Michigan. One purpose is to expose our university and communities to the complexity and richness of modern African culture, as well as the heritage of Africans and people of African descent, and so to embrace diversity. Another purpose is to engage people with the many interesting and challenging issues created by the historical and modern African Diaspora.


The following information is taken from Dr. Osundare's Univeristy of New Orleans faculty page:


Education: Ph.D., York University, 1979

Poet, dramatist, critic, essayist, and media columnist, Dr. Niyi Osundare has authored 18 books of poetry, two books of selected poems, four plays, a book of essays, and numerous monographs and articles on literature, language, culture, and society. He regards his calling as a writer and his profession as a teacher as essentially complementary.

He was educated on three continents: B.A. (Honours) from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, M.A. from the University of Leeds in England, and Ph.D. from York University, Toronto, Canada. The wide and varied exposure accruing from this has proved very useful for his writing and teaching careers.

Born in Nigeria, one of the most linguistically and culturally heterogeneous countries in the world, he learnt early in life the complexities and challenges of diversity. He began his teaching career at the University of Ibadan in 1974 and rose to the position of full professor there in 1989. From 1993 to 1997, he was the Chair of its Department of English. He was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990 to 1991, and in 1991/92, an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Orleans, to which he returned as full professor in 1997, and was selected University Research Professor in 2001 and Distinguished Professor of English in 2011. His areas of specialization are African Literature, Literature of the African Diaspora, Literary Stylistics, Sociolinguistics, and Creative Writing. In 2005, he was selected Fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Letters (NAL), the country’s highest Academy for the Humanities. About his passion for teaching, he has this to say: "For me, the classroom is a vital space inhabited - no, lived - by students and teachers as partners, even collaborators, in a process of intellectual and social inquiry and exchange .... I strive to be the kind of teacher who challenges and inspires..."

For his creative works, Osundare has received many prizes: the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize, the Cadbury/ANA Prize, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, the Noma Award (Africa's most prestigious book award), the Tchicaya U Tam’si Award for African Poetry, and the Fonlon/Nichols Award for "excellence in literary creativity combined with significant contributions to Human Rights in Africa". He has carried out readings and performances of his works in many parts of the world, and his poems have been translated into French, Italian, Slovenian, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, and Korean. He has been a recipient of honorary doctorates from the Universite de Toulouse-le Mirail in France and Franklin Pierce University in Rindge New Hampshire, USA. He is a columnist for Newswatch, a prominent Nigerian newsmagazine; he maintains a weekly poetry column (Lifelines) in Nigeria’s Sunday Tribune, and is a frequent newspaper radio and television commentator on current affairs.

Select Publications:


City Without People: The Katrina Poems. Boston: Blackwidow Press. 2011
Random Blues, Ibadan: Kraftbooks. 2011
Days. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books Nigeria. 2007
The Word Is an Egg.  Ibadan: Kraftbooks. 2000
Midlife. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books. 1993
Waiting Laughters.  Lagos & Oxford: Malthouse Press. 1990
Moonsongs.  Ibadan: Spectrum Books. 1988
The Eye of the Earth. Ibadan: Heinemann. 1986
Village Voices. Ibadan: Evans Brothers. 1984
Songs of the Marketplace. Ibadan: New Horn Press. 1983

Selected Poems

Pages From the Book of the Sun: New & Selected Poems.  Trenton, NJ:
African World Press. 2002
Selected Poems. Oxford: Heinemann International 1992


Thread in the Loom: Essays on African Literature and Culture, Trenton,
NJ: Africa World Press. 2002


The State Visit. Ibadan: Kraftbooks. 2002

Public Discourse

Dialogue with My Country. Ibadan: Bookcraft. 2007, 2011