Artmosphere, one of Nigeria’s leading culture, music and literature events, Tanure Ojaide, poet laurete and recipient of the 2016 Folon Nichols Prize, and Sam Omatseye, writer, columnist and Honourary Fellow of the Academy of Letters. The event will engage the authors on their most recent works-‘Song of Myself’ by Tanure Ojaide and My Name is Okoro by Sam Omatseye, and other works written by the authors. The event will hold at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan on Saturday, 23rd of July,2016 by 3pm.
‘Song of Myself’ is an offering from the Udje poetry tradition and the stylistic vision of the poet laurete. It delves into a myriad of themes including love, culture, politics and notes on the history of destruction of cultural values of the Niger Delta. My Name is Okoro is a fictional and alternative narration of the Biafrian war from the point of view of the Niger Delta. It is the 49th anniversary of the Nigeria civil war, and yet it remains a matter of silence in national discourse. The novel prods us to take a look at our nation and negotiate the ethnic relations of our landscape.
The event will be moderated by Femi Morgan, curator of Artmosphere and Ademola Adesola, a public intellectual, literary critic and book editor. Entry is free.
Artmosphere is curated by Artmosphere Nigera, a social enterprise since 2011. It is a book, arts, music and culture event that has engendered artistic and intellectual, social and political conversations and created a community of readers and writers. It has hosted the artists like Niyi Osundare, Victor Ehikhamenor, Efe Paul Azino, Tunde Adegbola, Chuma Nwokolo, Ayeola Mabiaku, Tade Ipadeola, Hyginus Ekwauzi, amongst others, and has organized creative writing workshops in the city of Ibadan.
Tanure Ojaide is a poet and scholar who has been regarded for his stylistic girth and vision. Ojaide has taught in several universities at home and abroad is currently the Frank Porter Graham Professor of Africana Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, United States of America where he teaches Pan-African Literatures and Arts.
Ojaide earned a Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria and later went to the Syracuse University, where he received both MA in Creative Writing and PhD in English.
He is the winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Africa Region (1987) , the BBC Arts and Africa Poetry Awards (1988) and the All-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry (1988 and 1997). He is also the winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Poetry Prize (1988, 1994 and 2004). In 2005, he was the runner-up for the Commonwealth Literature Prize, runner-up for the Penguin Prize for African Writing for his non-fiction manuscript, Drawing the Map of Heaven : An African Writer’s Experience of America. He also represented Nigeria in Poetry Africa in 2005 at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. He is the recipient of the 2016 Folon Nichols Award which was given to him at the African Literature Association Conference in Atlanta. He is a fellow in Writing from the University of Iowa.
He has written more than 16 collections of poems which include Labyrinths of the Delta (1986); The Fate of Vultures(1990); The Blood of Peace (1991); Daydreams and Ants (1997); Invoking the Warrior Spirt: New and Selected Poems (1999), In the Kingdom of Song: A Trilogy (2002); I want to Dance & Other Poems (2003); The Tale of Harmattan (2007);Waiting for the Hatching of the Cockerel (2008)and The Beauty I have seen (2010). He has also written two collections of short stories, Gods Medicine Men and Other Stories (2004), The Debt Collector and Other Stories (2009) and three novels, Sovereign Body (2004),The Activist (2006) and Matters of the Moment (2009). Great Boy, a memoir; An African Childhood was published in 1998.
Tanure Ojaide has read from his works in forums in Britain, Canada, Israel Mexico, The Netherlands, The united States of America and in countries in Africa.
Sam Omatseye is a prolific writer and journalist who has worked in the media in Nigeria and the United States. He is currently the Chairman, Editorial Board, The Nation Newspapers, where the team relies on his two decades of journalism experience for media leadership. He is the columnist of In-Touch, one of Nigeria’s leading opinion staples in the Nigerian discourse landscape. Omatseye also moonlights as a writer, dramatist and poet outside the boardroom. He is the author of three collections of poems, Mandela’s Bones and Other Poems (2009), Dear Baby Ramatu (2009)and Lion Wind and Other Poems (2011). His first novel, Crocodile Girl was published in 2011 while his play, ‘The Siege’ was staged as a command performance in honour of Wole Soyinka, at the Muson Centre in 2014. His most recent novel is My Name is Okoro (2016) a book on the outlook and experience of the middle belt persona who finds himself entangled in the Biafra war (2016). He is the author of A Chronicle Foretold, a non-fictional work historicizing the rise of flaws of the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration in 2016.
Omatseye was the first winner of the Gordon N. Fisher Fellowship for Journalists in the commonwealth in Toronto. He is also the recipient of the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship and the winner of the Scripps Howard Prize for his work with The Rocky Mountain News in Denver. He also won the Scribes in Excellence Prize for feature Writing for the Association of Black Journalists in the United States of America.
In Nigeria, he has won the Nigeria Media Award three times, in the reporter category and twice as the columnist of the year. He is an honourary Fellow of the Academy of Letters.