Nigerian-Canadian Writer And Academic, Nduka Otiono Wins ALA Book Of The Year Award

Prof. Nduka Otiono, Award Winner

By Frank Oshanugor

A Nigerian creative writer, celebrated author and lecturer at Carleton University, Canada; Prof. Nduka Otiono has won the African Literature Association (ALA) 2023 edition of “Book of the Year Award in Creative Writing.”

The Award which was presented to Otiono recently in Canada is “for an outstanding book of African Literature by an African Writer published in 2022.” The book which is titled DisPlace is the Award winning publication for the Ogwashi-Uku born Writer whose literary ingenuity as a journalist, creative artist, author and University lecturer has continued to attract global attention.

In his acceptance speech at the Award presentation, Prof. Otiono said “I bear witness to the acclamation that poetry in the words of the prolific American-Canadian poet, A. F. Moritz, “can become the world we actually live in, not just in verse, but on both sides of our front door.”

“For me, both sides of our front door is a metaphor for what has been termed “The Dualities of Nduka Otiono.” These Dualities extend to my identity as an African Canadian and the various lives that I have lived and continue to live.

“As I affirm elsewhere, the elements of my Dualities are the branches of a river flowing into one main stream which reflect the work that I do as a creative writer, as a scholar and educator.

DisPlace is a testament of these tributaries of the self as well as a verbal collage of the flow of the river from my hometown Ogwashi-Uku in the Anioma area of Delta State, Nigeria to the wide expanse of Obodo Oyibo.”

While appreciating the African Literature Association for the Award, Otiono paid tribute to his publisher Wilfrid Laurier University Press, publishers of Canada’s foremost poetry series under which imprint his book DisPlace was published.

Expanding his words of tribute, the ALA winner remarked that “it is one thing for a creative artist to conceive a work. It is another for the work to find the right midwives to deliver the precious baby.”

In the same vein, Otiono expressed profound appreciation to his employers, Carleton University for “providing me the platform to thrive as an instructor, interdisciplinary scholar and creative artist.”

Written by: Frank Oshanugor

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