Africa’s foremost scholar of Oral Literature and award-winning novelist, Prof. Isidore Okpewho, has passed on at 74.
The Distinguished Professor at State University of New York, died peacefully on Sunday, September 4th, surrounded by family members at a hospital in Binghamton, a town in Upstate New York where he had lived and taught since 1991.
His teaching career spanned University of New York at Buffalo (1974-76), University of Ibadan (1976-90), Harvard University (1990-91), and State University of New York at Binghamton.
Born on November 9, 1941 in Agbor, Delta State, Nigeria, Okpewho grew up in Asaba, his maternal hometown, where he attended St Patrick’s College, Asaba. He proceeded to the University College, Ibadan, for his university education. He graduated with a First Class Honours in Classics, and moved on to launch a glorious career: first in publishing at Longman Publishers, and then as an academic after obtaining his PhD from the University of Denver, USA. He crowned his certification with a D.Litt from University of London.
He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1982, Alezander von Humboldt Foundation in 1982, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1988, the W.E.B Du Bois Institute in 1990, National Humanities Center in 1997, 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship/
Okpewho won the 1976 African Arts Prize for Literature and 1993 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Africa. His four novels, The Victims, The Last Duty, Tides, and Call me by my Rightful Name are widely studied in Africa and other parts of the world, with some of them translated into major world languages.