A leading African poet, dramatist, linguist, and literary critic, Niyi Osundare, has been chosen as the cover Poet and Headliner for the 5th edition of World Poetry, a magazine of the World Poetry Movement.
Cao Shui, Executive Deputy Secretary General of China’s Boao International Poetry Festival and Deputy Editor-in-chief of the magazine, disclosed this in an email to Osundare on January 15, 2022.
A selection of his poems will also be published in the magazine.
In his reply, Osundare thanked World Poetry Movement for the honour.
He is the first African Poet to be so honoured.
Born on March 12, 1947, in Ikere-Ekiti, Osun State, Nigeria, his poetry is influenced by the oral poetry of his Yorùbá culture, which he capaciously hybridises with other poetic traditions of the world, including
African American, Latin American, Asian, and European.
Osundare is a champion of free speech and his creative and critical writings are closely associated with political activism, decolonisation, black internationalism, and the environment.
He is the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Poetry Prize, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, the Tchicaya U Tam’si Poetry Prize, and the ANA/Cadbury Poetry Prize (twice).
In 1991, Osundare became the first Anglophone African poet to win the Noma Award (Africa’s most prestigious book award), and in 1998, he was awarded the Fonlon/Nichols Prize for his “excellence in literary creativity combined with significant contributions to Human Rights in Africa.”
In 2014, he was admitted to the National Order of Merit, his country’s highest honour for intellectual distinction and creative achievement.
Osundare is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English at the University of New Orleans.