Tennessee Tech University's Center Stage series will present African poet and guest lecturer Tanure Ojaide this Thursday, Oct. 28, when he discusses the topic of "African Literature, Globalization, and the Quest for Peace." The lecture is free and open to the public. It will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the University Center's Multipurpose Room. Those attending the presentation are also welcome to an evening of multicultural activities – from dance to food – also being held in the Multipurpose Room starting at 6 p.m. Ojaide teaches at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
Born in the oil-rich but economically impoverished Niger Delta area of Nigeria, Ojaide was raised by his grandmother in a riverine rural environment. He attended a Catholic grammar school and federal government college, Warri. Ojaide was educated at the University of Ibadan, where he received a bachelor's degree in English, and Syracuse University, where he earned the master's degree in creative writing and a doctorate 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, and 2003).
Ojaide's body of work includes 15 poetry collections, a memoir, two collections of short stories, three novels and five books of literary criticism. His novel Sovereign Body was a finalist for The Commonwealth Literature Prize for the Africa Region in 2005. His non-fiction manuscript, Drawing the Map of Heaven: An African Writer's Experience of America, was finalist for the Penguin Prize for African Writing (2010).