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Prof Okechukwu Ndibe

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Prof Okechukwu Ndibe

Okechukwu Ndibe also known as Okey Ndibe is a Nigerian, and of the most important voices of African literature. He is the prestigious author of the “Foreign God’s, Inc” (The novel was also included in National Public Radio’s list of best books of 2014) and the Arrows of Rain, and co-editor (with Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove) of Writers Writing on Conflicts and Wars in Africa.

Ndibe has also taught at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Simon’s Rock of Bard College in Great Barrington, MA, Connecticut College, New London, CT, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar).

Okey Ndibe hails from Amawbia in Anambra State. In 1960, he was born into the family of Christopher Chidebe and Elizabeth Ndibe in Yola Nigeria. His father Late Christopher was a postal clerk while his mother was a school teacher. His early life in Yola Nigeria was marked by the Biafran War, which made his family to relocate to the eastern part of the country. Okey Ndibe attended his elementary school in the town of Enugu Ukwu after which he proceeded to St.Michael’s Secondary School, Nimo, in Anambra State, Nigeria.

Ndibe earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has taught at Brown University in Providence, RI, Trinity College in Hartford, CT (where the student newspaper named him one of 15 professors students should take classes with before graduating), Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, MA (where he won a new faculty teaching award), Connecticut College in New London, CT (where the student newspaper included him on a list of “five outstanding professors”), and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar).

After college, Okey started as a journalist for a magazine and on reporting for his duty, he told his editor that he has been able to set an interview with Chinua Achebe. Okey came to the United States in 1988 at the invitation of famous Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe for him to be the founding editor of an international magazine called African Commentary. Amongst the magazine’s columnists were Achebe, Nadine Gordimer, Kofi Awoonor, Ben Okri, Michael Ekwueme Thelwell, John Edgar Wideman, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and Johnetta Cole.

His career as an author began after he responded in the affirmative when African American writer John Edgar Wideman asked, “You’re working on a novel, right?’’ that was what compelled him to write 20 pages within the weekend which led to the birth of his first work.

Ndibe later served as an editorial writer for Hartford Courant, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the US, where one of his essays, “Eyes To The Ground: The Perils of the Black Student,” was chosen by the Association of Opinion Page Editors as the best opinion piece in an American newspaper in 2000, and another essay, “Unwarranted Graphic Authentication,” was named the 2001 best opinion piece by the CT chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

His opinion pieces have been published by numerous publications, including The New York Times, BBC online, Al Jazeera online, Financial Times, Fabian Society Journal, and the (Nigerian) Daily Sun, where his widely syndicated weekly column appears. He is currently working on a novel titled Return Flights as well as a non-fiction book, Going Dutch and other American Mis/Adventures, a series of essay vignettes based on his immigrant experiences.

Okey Ndibe is married to Sherifat Fafunwa the daughter of the first Nigerian Professor of Education Prof. Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa and his American wife Doris. Sherifat his wife is a Professor of Art History who taught pottery at the University of Lagos a while ago, under the auspices of the Ford Foundation.

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