Odia Ofeimun, poet, polemicist and polymath was born in Iruekpen-Ekuma, Edo State, Nigeria, on March 16th 1950. The author of ten significant volumes of poetry, Mr. Ofeimun has also published two books of political essays, four books on cultural politics as well as editing two anthologies of Nigerian poetry.
Widely anthologized and translated into many world languages, Mr. Ofeimun has read and performed his poetry in several countries of the world including Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, India, South Korea, Columbia, Germany, Israel, Great Britain, China, the United States of America, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba, Sweden, Italy and Cuba.
At home in Nigeria, Mr. Ofeimun’s practice of journalism, spanning the years of military tyranny, has inspired a whole generation of journalists in print and electronic media. The principled stand of Mr. Ofeimun came at the price of random invasion of his residence, seizure of his manuscripts, computer discs and Nigerian Passport to deny him freedom of movement. Undeterred, and while practicing probably the most dangerous vocation of all at the time, Mr. Ofeimun served the Association of Nigerian Authors as General Secretary and President respectively. He has been designated advisor to PEN Nigeria Centre and is a founding member of the Pan African Writers Association.
Mr. Ofeimun is the recipient of many awards the latest of which is the prestigious Fonlon-Nichols Award for literary excellence and propagation of Human Rights which was conferred on him by the African Literature Association in 2010. In a literary career spanning four decades, Mr. Ofeimun has distinguished himself with poetry and essays which challenge both the imagination and the intellect, crossing cultural borders and establishing new benchmarks in the articulation of the African narrative. His essays are valued both for knowledge and analysis, for what to know and for how to think about what is known.
Though only 62, Mr. Ofeimun is fondly called ‘Baba’ by the post-civil war generation of Nigerian writers many of whom have found touchstones in his works or have been individually mentored in writing by Mr. Ofeimun. For his copious literary output while engaged with anti-military rule struggle in Nigeria, Mr. Ofeimun has been called an exemplar of conscionable and consistent writing and the writerly life.