By Nehru Odeh
Nduka Otiono, a Nigerian writer, poet and scholar, has been appointed director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University. The three-year appointment takes effect July 1, 2022.
Announcing the appointment in a statement, Pauline Rankin, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton University, described Otiono as “an associate professor at the Institute of African Studies whose work spans creative writing , cultural studies, oral performance and literature in Africa, and postcolonial studies”.
“His recent publications include the co-edited volume of essays, Polyvocal Bob Dylan: Music, Performance, Literature (Palgrave Macmillan 2019) and DisPlace: The Poetry of Nduka Otiono (Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2021),” he said. declared.
Reacting to the appointment, Otiono, former Secretary General of the Association of Nigerian Authors, said, “I humbly accept this appointment and call to serve as the new Director of our beloved Institute of African Studies in Carleton University, Canada’s premier African studies institute. .
“When I joined this unit as the first full-time faculty member on the tenure track in 2014, I had no idea that in 7 years I would be leading it as its first director. not named from outside the institute.
“Recognizing that this is our home department and the intellectual and cultural center for the study of Africa in Canada is essential to my vision for the Institute. I count on our large community and local and international partners for the cooperation and support needed to move the Institute forward into its second decade of existence – having been founded in 2009.
“I thank the University hiring committee and administration for choosing me to lead our great Institute at this critical time in its history. I thank my colleagues and our passionate students whose confidence in my work continues to inspire me to excel.
“I also want to acknowledge the endless love of my family without which this trip to Canada would have been a lonely walk in the snow. Finally, as we say as believers and in Nigerian jargon, to God be the glory.
Otiono was first appointed as an assistant professor at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, in 2013, becoming the first incumbent of what was then the university’s new Institute of African Studies.
An accomplished journalist, he has previously worked for a number of reputable newspapers in Nigeria such as The Guardian, ThisDay and Post Express. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1987) and a Masters in English from the same university (1990). He also holds a doctorate. in English from the University of Alberta, Canada (2011).
While studying at the University of Alberta, he won prestigious awards such as the FS Chia Scholarship, the Andrew Stewart Memorial Graduate Prize, and the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship – and was nominated for the Medal of Governor General’s Gold for Academic Distinction.
In 2011, he was awarded a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University, where he was also made a visiting assistant professor, but the Banting fellowship brought him back to Canada.
Fellow of the William Joiner Center for War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts Boston, his interdisciplinary research focuses on “street histories” or popular urban narratives in postcolonial Africa, and how they traverse multiple cultural formations. , including oral literature, new media, film, popular music and social media.
He is the author of The Night Hides with a Knife (short stories), which won the ANA/Spectrum Award; Voices in the Rainbow (poems), shortlisted for the ANA/Cadbury Poetry Prize; and Love in a Time of Nightmares (poems), for which he received the James Patrick Folinsbee Memorial Fellowship in Creative Writing. He co-edited We-Men: An Anthology of Men Writing on Women (1998) and Camouflage: Best of Contemporary Writing from Nigeria (2006).