The University of Ibadan promises a lot of literary and other action as the Niyi Osundare Poetry Festival 2016 rolls into town.
Niyi Osundare is currently a distinguished Professor of English at the University of Orleans, Lakefront, New Orleans USA. He is one of the most decorated Africans where academia and poetry is concerned. If there is a prize for poetry or other writing forms that an African is eligible for then this man has won it. Be it the Noma Award, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize as well as every prize in Nigeria, this gentleman has won it. In 2014, he was the sole winner of the Nigeria National Order of Merit Award, which is the officially recognized award for excellence in the academic.
The Niyi Osundare Poetry Festival has been set up to celebrate both poetry and Osundare one of the most recognised names on the continent. This year the festival’s theme is “Beyond Words: Poetry, Performance and Community Development” which makes perfect if you realise that the man the festival is about was all about the community.
The festival is a daylong affair on May 16, 2016 happening at the Arts Theater of the University of Ibadan where Prof Osundare taught for so many years. Tunde Laniyan the Festival Director promises that, “There will be performances by indigenous and international performers, vibrant discussions and analysis by academics and other stakeholders, poetry recitals and chanting, among others.”
The keynote Speaker will be Professor Oyeniyi Okunoye who is the head of the department of English at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. He will become familiar to many followers of the African literature game as he was on the panel of judges that deemed that Chika Unigwe would go home with the Nigerian literature Award in 2012 for her book On Black Sister’s Street.
There will also be presentations by Sunny Awefeada, Saleh Abdu, Yusuf Hashim and Drs. Nereus Yerima, Tosin Gbogi, Gabriel Osoba and Wale Okediran. Also expected among others are Prof Jelili Ojuade, Dr. Servio Gbadamosi (2015 ANA Prize W inner for Poetry), members of the ANA Oyo State led by Dr. Solomon Iguare, Kola Bata, Remilekun Kasali (Remmy Chanter), Soji Gbelekale, Akikanju Ode, Seun Omisakin, Alabi Ogundepo and Akeem Lasisi.