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Calabar Study Group to celebrate Joe Ushie with conference



A renowned Nigerian poet of the third generation and leading scholar of African literature at University of Uyo, Prof. Joseph Akawu Ushie, will be celebrated by Calabar Study Group with a conference billed for April, 25 through 28, 2018. Venue is University of Calabar, Cross River State. The conference has as theme ‘Joe Ushie@60: Otherness, Marginality and Social Justice.’

Ushie is one of the strong voices that have, by their consistency and creative industry, established their identities in the canon of Nigerian poetry at the turn of the millennium. Along with other poets of his generation, Ushie provided the creative trough that defines contemporary Nigerian and recent African literature at large. Characterised by a peculiar lachrymal tone definitive of the poetics of his generation, Ushie’s poetry is unique for its compelling eco-consciousness and intemperateness with the social injustice of present-day Nigeria. That eco-concentricity is, in turn, steeped in the idiom and cultural mores of his Bendi people of South-South Nigeria. Beyond his poetry, Ushie has committed himself to the creative revival of his people’s folk performance and its systematisation for a new world.  This can be seen in his patronage and investment in creating two different Bette-Bendi women and men performance troupes – Litong and Bendi Traditional Marriage Theatre.


Ushie has been a long-standing member of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), where he has used his experience and expertise to mentor a lot of young and upcoming writers. He was one-time chairman of Association of Nigerian Authors, Akwa-Ibom chapter, which hosted the 31st International Convention in 2012. He has served the association most diligently in several capacities, the apex being his co-editing of two landmark, commemorative books on Chinua Achebe’s works with the current President of ANA, Mallam Denja Abdullahi in 2009 and 2017 respectively.

The said books are Themes Fall Apart and the Centre Holds (2009) that commemorated the 50th anniversary celebration of the publication of Things Fall Apart. The second was Arrows or Gods? Essays on the Leadership Question in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God (2017), which also marked the 50th anniversary publication of Achebe’s second book book in 2014.

The proposed conference has as confirmed keynote speakers and lead paper presenters – Prof. Obododimma Oha (University of Ibadan), Prof. Oyeniyi Okunoye (Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife) and Prof. A.S Adagboyin (Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma).

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