Chukwuma Azuonye--a profile contd.

In 1972 Azuonye published seven poems in Nsukka Harvest and graduated with First Class Honors (Summa Cum Laude) in English from the University of Nigeria winning Departmental and Faculty prizes. In October that year he became Junior Fellow in English, University of Nigeria, Nsukka teaching the Use of English and English Romantic Poetry, and appointed Editor of Omabe: The Nsukka Poetry Monthly, and was listed in Who's Who in African Literature (John, Janheinz, Ulla Schild and Almut Norman, eds, Tubingen). He later obtained a PhD in African Literature (1980) from the University of London's School of African and Oriental Studies with a thesis on the Igbo Oral epic. At the forefront of the movement of arts which led to the emergence of Nsukka as a major center of poetry in Nigeria in the early 1970's, Azuonye taught literature in fours major universities in Nigeria--Ibadan, Nsukka, Lagos, and Abia state--before moving to the USA on a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Philadelphia. He is currently Professor of African Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Azuonye was formerly Chair of the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages at Nsukka (1986-88) and Chair, African studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In addition to poetry and short stories, he has published numerous scholarly articles in books, encyclopedia and journals in Africa, Europe and the Americas. His books include
Nsukka Harvest (ed. 1972), Dogon (1995) Edo (1995), The Hero in Igbo Life and Literature (2002, co-edited with Donatus Nwoga), Testaments Of Thunder: Poems of Crisis and War (2002) Omenuko a biographical novel from the hand of Pita Nwana (Translator from Igbo and Editor, 2003), The Silent Sky: Stories of Crisis and War (2003), Prisoner of Silence: Poems (2003), Performance and Oral Literary Criticism (forthcoming 2003) and The Columbia Anthology of African literature (forthcoming). An Anthology of poems from the Biafran war  which he edited with Peter Butenson and Joseph Hunt, earlier accepted for publication by Doubleday, New York, is still awaiting publication.

In addition to his creative and critical writings, Azuonye has played a leading role in the founding and development of scholarly, literary and cultural journals in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. In 1982, he joined the Okike Arts Center at Nsukka, as the founding editor of
Uwa Ndi Igbo: Journal of Igbo Life and Culture, with Chinua Achebe as Publisher. First published in 1984, Uwa Ndi Igbo went into recession in 1988, following the massive emigration of Nigerian intellectuals and artists in the 1990, but is now in the process of being revived. Also at Nsukka, Azuonye founded and edited both The Nsukka Journal of the Humanities and The Nsukka Journal of Linguistics and African Languages. Currently in the process of founding and editing the first Journal of Africana Studies in the United States at the University of Massachusetts, he is on the editorial boards or board of consultants of several other journals, among the Igbo: Journal of the Society for Promoting Igbo Language and Culture and Alternations: Journal of the Center for the Study of Literature and Languages at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville, Durban, South Africa.