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    Professor Ernest Nneji Emenyonu, Keynote Speaker, 15th Annual International Conference of the Igbo Studies Association

    Professor Ernest Nneji Emenyonu, arguably the most prominent Igbo scholar today and a notable Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, and Flora Nwapa scholar, partly due to his rich and voluminous critical works on these luminary Igbo sons and daughters, his world-renown in creatively (re)telling the Igbo story, and partly due to his reputation as a gynandrist, is a life member of the Flora Nwapa Society, a member of the Women’s Caucus of the African Literature Association (USA),

    and generally supports women’s visibility in society, academics and politics. Since 2003 Prof, as he is very often addressed by younger Igbo scholars whom he has mentored both as students and university professors, has been the Editor of African Literature Today, the oldest international journal of African Literature, published annually in November in the UK, USA, and Nigeria, and has had published critical works on many African women writers. Since 2014, he has been the Examiner of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Igbo Literature, Cardiff, UK, solely charged with administering the examination on Igbo Studies. He was the first to translate the first Igbo novel Omenuko by Pita Nwana from the Igbo into the English, and has written a classic, The Rise of the Igbo Novel, to document the affirmation of the Igbo language and world view as a field worthy of research for Igbo Scholars. His chronicle of the father of the African novel, Chinua Achebe, in a way that no other Igbo Scholar has done are in such volumes as Emerging Perspectives on Chinua Achebe, Volume 1, Omenka the Master Artist, Critical Perspectives on Chinua Achebe’s Fiction. New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2004, and Emerging Perspectives on Chinua Achebe. Vol.2. ISINKA, the Artistic Purpose: Chinua Achebe and the Theory of African Literature (with Iniobong I. Uko). New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2004.

    Professor Emenyonu has taught and served far and afield in the United States, Lebanon, Denmark, England, India and Nigeria. In the United States he has been at various universities in North Carolina, Colorado, Tennessee, Connecticut, Montana, ending up as Head/Chair of the Department of African Studies at the University of Flint, Michigan until 2014, where he initiated in 2003 a project with the Flint Public Library known as the “Renowned Africa Writers Visit Series”, later known as “African/African Diaspora Visit Series” which, for a period of one week in the month of March annually, brought to campus for interaction with faculty and students such eminent Igbo scholars as Buchi Emecheta, Chis Abani, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and also other Nigerians, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Niyi Osundare, and Africans, the Egyptian Nawal el Saadawi Dennis Brutus, Ngugi was Thiong’o, and Sindiwe Magona. In Nigeria he has mentored young scholars at Mbieri-Mbaitoli, Owerri, Abuja, Lagos, Jos, Nsukka, Ile-Ife, and Calabar where he rose to the rank of Vice Chancellor. In Nigeria, he was the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, and later the Provost and Chief Executive Officer at the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri.

    Professor Emenyonu had received several awards in recognition of his contributions to the Humanities and society, including, but are not limited to, David M. French Distinguished Professorship and Alvin D. Loving Senior Faculty Initiative Award at Flint, Michigan, Fellow of the Literary Society of Nigeria (FLSN), ICON of Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education Award, Owerri, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Imo State Chapter, organized and named an International conference in his honor: “Ernest Emenyonu International Conference on African Literature” (Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, August 4-7, 2010), Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (FNAL), Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA): Outstanding Contributions to Nigerian Literature Award, Professor Emeritus, University of Calabar, Nigeria, Mbieri Nwaotuoke Association, U.S.A.: Excellence in Civic Engagement and Development Award, Chieftaincy Title: UGWUMBA I of Mbieri by the Paramount Ruler of Mbieri, Mbaitoli Local Government Area, Imo State, Nigeria, Eze S.U. Achuko, Eze Ozuzuoha II of Mbieri, Knighted by the Anglican Diocese of Owerri, Nigeria (Knight of St. Christopher), gave a keynote Address at the University of Beirut’s first ever International Conference on African literature in Honor of the legendary African writer, Chinua Achebe, “The Legacy of Chinua Achebe” (Lebanon, March 21-22, 2014), delivered a “Special Lecture” at an international conference in honor of a leading pioneer African novelist, Chukwuemeka Ike (Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi State, Nigeria, Oct 13-17, 2016), and will deliver the Keynote Address at the 9th University of Uyo, Nigeria, Conference on Language and Literature, Feb. 21—24, 2017.

    Among his most recent academic activities are conference presentations.

    • In 2016, “A Literary History of the Igbo Novel, 1857-Present,” a Research Report at the 11th International Conference of the Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA), University of Florida, Gainesville; “Research Priorities in African Literature: Responding to Challenges and Standards in the 21st Century,” at the 24th Conference of the University of Calabar International Conference on African Literature and the English Language (ICALEL).

    • In 2015, “Pita Nwana’s Omenuko and the Evolution of the Novel in Igbo Language,” at the 1st International Conference of the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA), University of Ibadan Nigeria; “New Nigerian Writing—Transforming, Rehabilitating, or Regenerating Nigerian Literature?: A close study of Recent Fiction by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teju Cole, Chika Unigwe and Chigozie Obioma,” at the International Conference of the Literary Society of Nigeria (LSN) Niger Delta University, Bayesla, Nigeria; “Depiction of Home and Exile in the African Language Novel (ALN): a case study of Omenuko (1933) by Pita Nwana,” at the African Literature Association (ALA) International Conference, University of Bayreuth, Germany.

    • In 2014, “A Literary History of the Novel in African Languages: A Focus on the Igbo language novel, 1857-2010;” “African Languages and Literature in the 21st Century.” Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya; a Keynote, “The Legacy and Memories of Chinua Achebe.” Anambra State (Nigeria) Association, Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter, and Paper: “The Place of Chinua Achebe in African Literature;” International Conference on “The Legacy and Memories of Chinua Achebe.” Anambra State (Nigeria) Association, Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter. Paper: “The Place of Chinua Achebe in African Literature;” “Arrow of God: New insights into Achebe’s Magnum Opus,” at The Achebe Colloquium on Africa—African Literature as Restoration: Chinua Achebe as Teacher, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; on Also Paper: “Arrow of God at 50: Achebe’s Magnum Opus.” “Chinua Achebe: There was a Writer,” African Literature Association (ALA). University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Keynote on “The Legacy of Chinua Achebe: Dialogical Explorations in Philosophy, Literature and Politics,” Notre Dame University, Beirut, Lebanon; Keynote address on “Our Universities, Academic Standards and National Integrity,” at the International Conference of the Literary Society of Nigeria (LSN) “In honor of Prof. Ernest N. Emenyonu, President 1982-1984,” University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.

    SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY (Essays on Igbo scholarship, writers, and creative works on the Igbo)


    Remembering A Legend: Chinua Achebe. New York: African Heritage Press, 2014.

    Chinua Achebe (1930-2013): A Tribute. Anthonia C. Kalu, Simon K. Lewis, and Ernest N. Emenyonu. Eds. Geneva, New York: African Literature Association Books (E-book:, 2013.

    War in African Literature. Ed. African Literature Today, No. 26. Oxford: James Currey/Ibadan, Nigeria: Heinemann Publishers, 2008.

    Goatskin Bags and Wisdom: New Critical Perspectives on African Literature. New Jersey, Africa World Press, 2000.

    Current Trends in Literature and Language Studies in West Africa (with Charles Nnolim) Ibadan, Nigeria: Kraft Books, 1994.

    Ideas and Challenges in Nigerian Education Enugu, Nigeria: New Generation Book, Enugu, 1994.

    Studies on the Nigerian Novel. Ibadan, Nigeria: Heinemann Educational Books, 1991.

    The Essential Ekwensi. Ed. Ibadan, Nigeria: Heinemann Educational Books, 1988.

    African Literature for Schools and Colleges (with B.E.C.Oguzie). Ibadan, Nigeria: University Press Ltd., 1985.

    The Rise of the Igbo Novel. Oxford University Press, 1978.

    Cyprian Ekwensi. London: Evans Publishers Ltd., 1974.

    Articles in Academic Journals and Book Anthologies:

    “Nigerian Pamphlet Literature Revisited: Prurient Fantasy or Failed Nigerian Erotica?” in Toyin Falola and S. U. Fwatshak. Eds. Beyond Tradition: African Women in Cultural and Political Spaces. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2011.

    “Okekwe, Promise Ogochukwu,” in Dictionary of African Biography, Henry Louis Gates and Emmanuel Akyempong. Eds. Oxford University Press, 2011.

    “The dynamics of Creativity and Reception: the Igbo-Language novel from Pita Nwana to Toni Ubesie,” in Oed Anja & Reuster-Jahn Uta. Eds. Beyond the Language Issue: The Production, Mediation and Reception of Creative Writing in African Languages. Koln, Germany: Rudiger KoppeVerlag, 2008.

    “Gone Too Soon! Thoughts at Ezenwa-Ohaeto’s Graveside on 23 December, 2005,” in Christine Matzke, Aderemi Raji-Oyelade and Geoffrey V. Davis, Of Minstrelsy and Masks: The Legacy of Ezenwa-Ohaeto in Nigerian Writing. Rodopi, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2006.

    “Igbo Literature “in Simon Gikandi, Encyclopedia of African Literature. London: Routledge (Igbo Literature, 234-236; Pita Nwana, 234-235; ‘Nolue Emenanjo,75 J.U.T.Nzeako, 400;Ude Odilora, 402-403; Frederick Chidozie Ogbalu, 404; Julie Onwuchekwa,414; Louis Nnamdi Oraka, 415-416; Bertram I.N. Osuagwu, 423; Sam Uzochukwu, 542; Tony Uchenna Ubesie, 541-542), 2003.

    “Chinua Achebe and the Problematics of Writing in Indigenous Nigerian Languages: Towards the Resolution of the Igbo Language Predicament” in Toyin Falola and Barbara Harlow, African Writers and Their Readers: Essays in Honor of Bernth Lindfors Vol. 2. New Jersey: Africa World Press, 2002.

    “Nurturing the Cradle: Chinua Achebe’s Fiction for Children,” in Ernest Emenyonu (Ed) Goatskin Bags and Wisdom: New Critical Perspectives on African Literature, Africa World Press, New Jersey, 1998 (Chapter 18), 2000.

    “Pioneer Igbo Writers”, in Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, Archive Volume Gale Research Inc., Book Tower, Detroit, Michigan. (205-211), 1989.

    “Problems and Prospects of Developing Reading Materials for Primary Schools in Nigeria: The Experience of the Imo Reader Project, 1976-1986”, in Omojuwa Ralph et al (Eds.), Literacy and Reading in Nigeria Vol. 4, Ahmadu Bello University Press, Zaria, 1989. Reprinted in Adebisi Afolayan, Journal of English as a Second Language No 2, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, 1989.

    “Preserving the Igbo Language for the 21st Century”, in Rems Nna Umeasiegbu (Ed.), The Study of Igbo Culture: Essays in Honor of F.C. Ogbalu, Karuna Books, Enugu, Nigeria, 1988.

    “Igbo Literary Backgrounds,” The Conch, Special Nigeria Issue, State University of New York, New Paltz, New York, 1975.

    “African Cultural Taboos: A Case Study of the ‘Osu’ System among the Igbo of Nigeria”, UMOJA, South Western Afro American Journal, Vol. I No 2, New Mexico, 1973.

    “Early Fiction in Igbo,” Research in African Literatures, Austin, Texas Vol. 41, 1973. (Reprinted in Critical Perspectives on Nigerian Literatures. Bernth Lindfors. Ed. Three Continents Press, Washington D.C., USA, 1976.

    “Post-War Writing in Nigeria”, Studies in Black Literature, Vol. 4 No 1 Fredericksburg, Virginia. (Reprinted in Ufahamu, University of California, Vol. IV No. 1, spring; also in ISSUE: A Quarterly Journal of Africanists’ Opinion, Vol. III No. 2, summer, 1973

    “Chinua Achebe: The Writer and his World” (Interview with Patricia T. Emenyonu), Africa Report, New York, May, 1972.

    “Ezeulu: The Night Mask Caught Abroad by Daylight,” Pan African Journal, New York, May, 1971.

    Short Stories:

    Princess Mmaeyen and Other Stories, Kraft Books Ltd. Ibadan, Nigeria, 2015.

    “The People’s Chief.” World View: A Quarterly Magazine of the National Peace Corps Association, Washington D.C. Vol. 11 No 2, Feb –April 1998.

    “Elder Zechariah.” Modern African Stories. Charles Larson, Ed., New York: Collier Books/ London: Fontana Publishers, 1974.

    Children’s Literature:

    A Feast in the Sky. Manila Publishers, Abuja, Nigeria, 2014.

    Uzoechi: A Story of African Childhood. New York: African Heritage Press, 2012.

    Tales of Our Motherland. Ibadan, Nigeria: Heinemann Educational Books, 1999.

    Uzo and His Father. Heinemann Educational Books, Ibadan, Nigeria, 1999.

    Uzo Remembers His Father. Ibadan, Nigeria: Heinemann Publishers, 1992.

    The Adventures of Ebeleako. Lagos, Nigeria: Kraft Books, 1991.

    Bedtime Stories for African Children. Enugu, Nigeria: Harris Publishers. Reprinted by New Generation Publishers (Enugu), (1989)1992.


    “Pole, Afrika, Pole.” Bashiru, Journal of the Department of African Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin, Madison, spring, 1970.


    Omenuko (1933). Translated into the English, New York: African Heritage Press, 2014. 


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