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Article

Charlotte Crawford Watkins

Charles Eaton Burch was born on July 14, 1891, in Bermuda. His early education was in the elementary and secondary schools of Bermuda, and his advanced training was in the United States, at Wilberforce University (B.A., 1914), Columbia University (M.A., 1918), and Ohio State University (Ph.D., 1933). He taught in the academic department of Tuskegee Institute in 1916 and 1917, and from 1918 to 1921 he taught at Wilberforce as an instructor in English. In 1921 he was appointed to the faculty of Howard University, where he served, successively, as assistant professor (1921–1924), associate professor (1924–1936), and professor of English, and as acting head and (from 1933) head of the Department of English until his death on March 23, 1948 In addition to his work as a scholar Burch made two major contributions to Howard University In ...

Article

was born on 12 August 1945, into a large family in Chocó, a department located on Colombia’s Pacific coast. Carlos inherited his passion for writing and literature from his father, Pedro Adán Caicedo, a well-known judge in Quibdó (the capital of Chocó). From childhood, his mother, María Licona Benítez, instilled in him a great sense of belonging and identification with his region. Among his many virtues and talents, Caicedo is best known as an outstanding writer whose emblematic works are a national treasure, telling the story of an interesting and unique culture.

Caicedo began his academic training at the Escuela Normal Superior de Quibdó, where he completed his elementary studies. He graduated from the Normal Guillermo León Valencia high school in Montería (in the department of Córdoba) in 1965 Later he enrolled in the Universidad Libre de Colombia Free University of Colombia where he successfully completed his bachelor ...

Article

Duane W. Roller

was a major poet and scholar of the third century BCE. He was born at the end of the previous century in Kyrene (also Cyrene), the important Greek city on the coast of Africa west of Egypt in present-day Libya. He was of distinguished background: his homonymous grandfather was a member of the ruling elite of the city. The younger Callimachus immigrated to Alexandria in Egypt at an early age and became an intimate at the court of Ptolemaios II (who came to the throne in early 282 BCE). Callimachus was part of the developing intellectual presence around the Ptolemies, which at that time included the mathematician Euclid and the poets Theokritos and Apollonios of Rhodes. He was especially close to the queen, Arsinoë II, and wrote her eulogy.

When Arsinoë died around 270 BCE Callimachus may have fallen out of favor since little is known about him for ...

Article

Roxanna Nydia Curto

was born Suzanne Roussi on 11 August 1915, in Poterie aux Trois-Îlets, Martinique. Her mother was Flore Roussi (née William); her father, Benoît Roussi, was a sugar factory worker.

In 1934 Roussi left Martinique to pursue her studies in literature, first in Toulouse, and then in Paris at the École Normale Supérieure, where she met her future husband and fellow Martinican, Aimé Césaire, in 1936. Legend has it that Roussi, known for her beauty and brilliance, was actively pursued by the three founders of the Negritude movement—Aimé Césaire, Léon Damas of French Guiana, and Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal—while they all worked together on the journal L’Étudiant noir. She chose Césaire, and they married on 10 July 1937 and eventually had six children (four sons and two daughters).

In 1938 after finishing her studies she returned to Martinique to teach at the Victor Schoelcher high school ...

Article

Ernest Cole

Sierra Leonean journalist, poet, and literary scholar, was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He studied at the universities of Oregon and Wisconsin before returning to Sierra Leone where he worked as a journalist. He taught at the universities of Maiduguri in Nigeria and the University of the Philippines but later returned to Sierra Leone and continued his work as a journalist and editor of the radical newspaper The Vanguard. Cheney-Coker has published three books of poetry: Concerto for an Exile in 1973, The Graveyard Also Has Teeth in 1980, and The Blood in the Desert’s Eyes in 1990. He also published a novel, The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar, in 1990 which won the African Commonwealth Writer’s Prize in 1991.

The poetry of Syl Cheney Coker falls within the period of modern writing in Sierra Leone The influence of modern poets like W B Yeats ...

Article

Linda Watts

was born Maryse Boucolon on 11 February 1937, the youngest of eight children born to a middle-class couple in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. Her father, Auguste Boucolon, worked as a civil servant. Her mother, Jeanne Quidal Boucolon, was an elementary school teacher. As a youth, Condé was bright, inquisitive, and a bit unruly. Despite household prohibitions, she explored her father’s personal library, where she developed an appetite for reading.

According to Condé, she became a writer at about the age of 7. Her debut came with a sketch she wrote depicting her mother’s strong role within the family. When her mother read her daughter’s portrayal, she cried. At that moment, the novice author discovered that even a child could use language to convey compelling truths to an audience. Years later, in her 2010 article How to Become a So Called Caribbean Woman Writer A User s Manual Condé recounted how ...

Article

Marie Umeh

Nigerian poet, literary critic, scholar, biographer, performer, and journalist, was born on 31 March 1958 to Michael Ogbonnaya Ohaeto and Rebecca Nwego Ohaeto in Ife Ezinihitte, Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo state. According to Ernest Emenyonu, Ezenwa-Ohaeto’s hyphenated name means “child king” or “child destined to be king.”

His primary education began in 1971 at St. Augustine Grammar School in Nkwere. He completed his secondary school education, earning a Grade One Certificate, with distinction in the arts and sciences, in 1975. When he was growing up, he published poems in the school magazine, HIPO, and short stories in the local newspaper, The Daily Star. From 1971 to 1979 he attended the University of Nigeria Nsukka UNN where he majored in English and studied under the renowned novelist Chinua Achebe and the famous critic Donatus Nwoga He graduated with a BA with honors in English This achievement ...

Article

Simon Gikandi

Henry Louis Gates Jr. has been the dominant figure in the study of African American literature and culture since the 1980s He has had a long and profound interest in Africa its history culture and institutions Through his writings documentaries and electronic publications he has been central in shaping debates about the continent in the American academy and public culture A prolific writer social commentator and builder of institutions Gates has influenced a range of debates on African and African American life from the meaning of blackness in the cultures of slavery the nature and form of the canon of black letters in the modern period and the relationship between the continent and its diaspora in Europe and the Americas Gates has done more than any other critic in the post civil rights era to bridge the gap between forms of knowledge that are produced in elite and exclusive ...

Article

Russell Hopley

literary theorist, poet, anthologist, was born in Masila in the region of Constantine, a city in present-day Algeria, to a family of Arab origin. Hasan al-Qayrawani al-Azdi al-Masili Ibn Rashiq displayed an early interest in Arabic literature, and following his primary education in Masila he was sent to al-Qayrawan in 1015/1016 to pursue his secondary studies. There he was able to study under some of the most eminent literary figures of eleventh-century Ifriqiya (present-day Tunisia), among them the grammarian Abu ʿAbd Allah al-Qazzaz, and the poets Ibrahim al-Husri, Abu Muhammad al-Khushani, and Abu Muhammad ʿAbd al-Karim al-Nahshali. This latter was, like Ibn Rashiq, a native of Masila, and his principal work, al-Mumtiʿ fi ʿilm al-shʿir wa ʿamalih, served as Ibn Rashiq’s introduction to classical Arabic poetry, as it did for an entire generation of North African poets.

An accomplished poet by the age of nineteen Ibn Rashiq became a ...

Article

poet, litterateur, and historian, was born in the Tunisian city of al-Qayrawan to a family of Arab origin. Ibn Sharaf received his education in the Islamic sciences at the hand of several North African luminaries of the eleventh century, including the eminent jurists Abu al-Hasan al-Qabisi (d. 1012) and Abu ‘Imran al-Fasi (d. 1039), who provided the young pupil with a thorough training in Islamic jurisprudence. Ibn Sharaf also studied with Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Qazzaz (d. 1021–1022) in the fields of Arabic grammar and lexicography, and he was introduced to classical Arab literature by the poet and belle-lettrist Ibrahim al-Husri (d. 1022). It is likely that Ibn Sharaf received his initial exposure to Arab verse by studying the poetic selections found in the anthology al-Mumti‘ fi ‘ilm al-sh‘ir wa ‘amalih a work that served to initiate an entire ...

Article

Amani Morrison

to Jessie Rowell, a gardener and storyteller, and Hosea Rowell, a farmer two generations removed from slavery. At an early age Rowell identified with his mother’s spirit of freedom and love of beauty as opposed to his father’s desire for land ownership and material gain.

Rowell lived and was educated in the segregated schools of Alabama before earning his degree in English from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College, also segregated, in 1961. He completed his Master of Arts degree in English at the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1962, after which he taught at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. In 1964 Rowell began pursuing a Ph.D. in English at Ohio State University, which he completed in 1972 after teaching at Mississippi Valley State College in Itta Bena, Mississippi and Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he worked until 1977. In 1976 just before leaving Southern ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Publisher and Professor of Commonwealth Literature. Ceaselessly energetic in her organizational and publishing activities, Australian‐born Anna Rutherford was revered in Commonwealth academic circles for her efforts to establish the study of post‐colonial literature in Europe.

For 28 years, from 1968 to 1996, Rutherford directed the Commonwealth Literature Centre at the University of Aarhus, organizing symposiums, seminars, and readings involving leading British‐based black scholars and writers such as Wilson Harris, Sam Selvon, Buchi Emecheta, and Shiva Naipaul. She introduced African and West Indian courses and, in 1971, organized the first European conference on the Commonwealth novel, a project involving many future British professors including Louis James (Kent) and Paul Edwards (Edinburgh), who went on, in their own universities, to promote the research that gave the discipline of Commonwealth literature intellectual respectability.

Rutherford was the first woman chair of the Association of ...

Article

Peter Mwikisa

Botswana poet, academic, and cultural activist, was born at Kanye, south of Gaborone, in Bechuanaland (now Botswana), on 27 April 1957. He married Loatile Seleka in 2001. His father, Joseph Morara Seboni (1927–1997), was appointed first secretary when at independence Botswana opened its high commission in London in 1966. His mother, Susan Nkgaelang (1929–2003), had a distinguished career as a nurse for three decades. Between 1966 and 1970 the family lived in London, where he went to school, first at Bell Lane Primary school and then at Saint Mary’s Church of England Secondary school for two years of his secondary school education, which he completed at Moeding College when the family returned to Botswana in 1970.

The four years that he spent in London were decisive both for his future choice to become a writer and for shaping the kind of writer he was to become ...

Article

Ada Uzoamaka Azodo

Senegalese novelist, dramatist, and literary and cultural activist, was born on 27 April 1941, on the island of Saint-Louis, the first capital of Senegal before Dakar, to Abdoulaye Fall and Adja Khoudia Diaw. In Paris, on 30 May 1963, she married fellow Senegalese Samba Sow, a recent university graduate in economics at the time and a popular basketball player, adopting his last name as her middle name. Today, Aminata Sow Fall is so well known worldwide that she can be listed in bibliographical entries without the need to place her last name first.

In her conservative and hospitable family her father who had attended L École des Fils de Chefs later worked outside the home as treasurer while her mother stayed at home as housewife and mother to provide nurturing to all with the help of live in servants Many young people and villagers frequented their home bringing ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian teacher, scholar, and publisher, was born on 2 April 1885 to a peasant family in the village of Kafr Dumayra, Daqahliyya Province. His educational background was unusually diverse. He received his early education at his village kuttab, from which he moved on to study at al-Azhar. While working as a teacher of Arabic at the École des Frères in Khoronfish from 1907 until 1914, he also studied at the new Egyptian University in Cairo and at the Law School in Cairo, from which he received a license in 1912. He later continued his legal studies in Paris, where he received his license en droit in 1925. Fluent in French and Arabic and with experience in both the indigenous and the western educational systems, Zayyat was well situated to serve as a cultural commentator and interpreter.

From 1922 to 1929 Zayyat headed the Arabic Department at ...