Niyi Osundare's Olympic Victory

UNO Professor of English Niyi Osundare has been selected to represent his native Nigeria at the London Olympics – in poetry. His poem “Raindrum” was selected as part of Poetry 2012: The Written World, a collaboration between BBC Radio Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library which aims to “use poems to capture the spirit of every nation at the 2012 Games.” Read more…

On Tuesday, March 20, Nigerian Priest Chucks Iwuagwu of St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow read Osundare’s poem, which celebrates the arrival of rain. As the Olympic nations’ poems are revealed, one each day from the project's launch on March 12th until the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony on September 9th, their respective countries light up on an interactive map on the BBC website, “creating a unique picture of the nations of the world in verse.”

Poet, dramatist, critic, essayist, and media columnist Osundare has authored over ten volumes of poetry, two books of selected poems, four plays, a book of essays, and numerous articles on literature, language, culture, and society. Born in Nigeria, he earned his B.A. from the University of Ibadan there, his M.A. from the University of Leeds in England, and Ph.D. from York University, Toronto, Canada.

He was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1990 to 1991, and an associate professor of English at the University of New Orleans in 1991 and 1992. He returned as full professor in 1997 and was selected university research professor in 2001. For his creative works, Osundare has received prizes including the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, Africa’s prestigious Noma Award, and the Fonlon/Nichols Award for "excellence in literary creativity combined with significant contributions to Human Rights in Africa".

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