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Malinda Williams

poet, short story writer, mythologist, and folklorist, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to Cornelius A. Bennett, a baker, and Kerene Robinson Bennett, a seamstress. Bennett's father died when she was just seven years old, leaving her mother to support the family. Bennett received a typical colonial education at St. Simon's College (1933–1936) and Excelsior High School (1936–1938), which greatly influenced her later interest in elevating and legitimizing traditional Jamaican culture. Though in high school Bennett began writing poetry in English, she later switched to writing in West Indian English, which linguists would eventually come to recognize as a language rather than just a dialect.

Bennett also began performing versions of her poems to audiences in high school and her success caught the attention of Eric Coverley who would later become Bennett s husband Coverley a draftsman and impresario organized a popular Christmas concert ...

Article

Christopher Phelps

writer and activist, was the second of two sons born to Reverend W. D. Lester, a Methodist minister, and Julia (Smith) Lester in St. Louis, Missouri. When he was two years old the family moved to Kansas City, Kansas. His father, seeking dignity, invariably wore a suit and tie, teaching his sons that separate “colored” facilities were demeaning and never to be used. The family spent its summers in the South at the rural home of Lester's maternal grandmother in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Lester's early precocity manifested itself in his love for reading and a propensity to challenge teachers. A childhood spent deep within the folds of the black community did not shield him from terror and anger. He later wrote that under segregation, “Hope was the name some dreamer bestowed on a daughter, … change was what the white man at the store might give you ...

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Born Grace Emily Akinyi in the village of Butere in western Kenya, Grace Ogot received her early education in local schools before training as a nurse in Uganda and England. After working as a nurse in the 1950s in Kenya and Uganda, she pursued various career routes, although her writing continued to draw on her nursing experience.

Ogot worked as a broadcaster and scriptwriter for the British Broadcasting Corporation in London in 1959 and 1960 and later as an announcer on a weekly radio magazine program in the Luo and Kiswahili languages for the Voice of Kenya broadcasting company. Her career moved in a literary direction in the early 1960s, and she wrote most of her works in English. Her first novel, The Promised Land (1966 explores the issue of marriage in modern Kenya especially a woman s relationship to her husband It also considers the relation of ...

Article

J. Roger Kurtz

Kenyan writer, was born on 15 May 1930 in Asembo in the Nyanza District of western Kenya. Ogot grew up in an Anglican family; her father taught at Ng’iya Girls’ School, then run by the Church Mission Society (CMS), the mission arm of the Anglican Church.

Ogot attended Ng iya Girls School and Butere Girls High School and took her post secondary training in health care In the 1950s she studied nursing first in Uganda and later in England as one of the first Kenyan women to go abroad for higher education While in London she worked as a broadcaster and scriptwriter for the British Broadcasting Corporation Upon returning to East Africa Ogot served as head nurse at Maseno Mission Hospital in western Kenya also a CMS institution and later at the Student Health Services of Makerere University College in Uganda She held posts as a community development officer a ...

Article

J. O. J. Nwachukwu-Agbada

Igbo-language novelist, broadcaster, poet, theater director, and cultural activist, was born on 22 February 1950 at St. Barth’s Maternity Home, Asata, Enugu, the capital of now-defunct Eastern Nigeria. Tony, as he preferred to be addressed, grew up under the tutelage of his father, Igbokwuchaaonu Aaron (1910–1984), a public-service artisan and church warden who wanted his third child to be a committed Anglican Christian and an informed Igbo, particularly in the area of Igbo culture and tradition. Ubesie failed neither his father nor his examinations, marked by his Division One result in the West African School Certificate examinations (WASC) of 1966 and a 1980 Upper Second Class Honors degree in linguistics and Nigerian languages from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Before he went to Nsukka in 1976 Ubesie s name was a household word in Igboland as he was already by that time an Igbo language broadcaster He was one of ...