Faculty & Staff

Chukwuma Azuonye, PhD

Professor of Africana Studies, College of Liberal Arts


Areas of Expertise

African, African-American, and Caribbean Literature, languages and folklore; Africana literary history; Africanisms in American and Caribbean culture


PhD University of London

Additional Information

Chukwuma Azuonye's Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Poet and short story writer Chukwuma Azuonye was at the forefront of the movement of the arts which established the University of Nigeria as a major center of poetry in Nigeria in the 1970s. He is currently the series editor of a 40-volume series, The Nsibidi Library of Nsukka Poets. A versatile scholar, he is a leading expert on African, specifically Igbo, oral literature. His studies of the Igbo oral epic have successfully challenged and revolutionized scholarly thinking worldwide on the genre of the epic. He is also a leading expert on the poetry of Christopher Okigbo. Beyond these areas of specialization, he has become engaged in redefining the canons of African letters through his bold agenda for a comprehensive history of African literature - the organizing principle of both his forthcoming Columbia Anthology of African Literature (co-edited with Steve Serafin) and History of African Literature.

His interest in indigenous African scripts is fast broadening into a scheme for the establishment of the subject as a central component of scholarship on African letters. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, reviews and creative writing in journals and books in Africa, Europe and the Americas, he has published Gedischte aus Biafra (et al, 1969), Nsukka Harvest (ed.,1972), Eagle on Iroko (co-ed. with Edith Ihekweazu, 1996), Edo: Bini People of the Benin Kingdom (1996), Dogon (1996), The Hero in Igbo Life and Literature (2002) and Testaments of Thunder: Poems of War and Crisis (2002).

His forthcoming books include: The Silent Sky: Stories of War and Crisis; Prisoner of Silence & Other Poems; Omenuko (an English translation of the classic Igbo novel by Pita Nwana); Performance and Oral Literary Criticism; Traditional Aesthetic Principles in an Igbo Epic Tradition; Footprints on Rock: Myth, History and Ideology in Igbo Oral Narratives; The Sweet Voice of Tradition: Oral Epic Poetry from the Performances of an Ohafia Igbo Bard; Columbia Anthology of African Literature) co-edited with Steven Serafin).

Additionally, he has just completed a critical study of the organic unity of Okigbo's poetry (The Quest for Fulfillment) and annotated critical editions of his complete poetical works - Labyrinths: Poems; Four Canzones & the Two Early Fragments; and Path of Thunder & the Late Occasional Poems. These works are expected to be available in print before an international conference on the life and works of Christopher Okigbo, scheduled for August 16-19, 2005, and organized in association with the Christopher Okigbo Foundation by a Greater Boston Area intercollegiate committee chaired by Azuonye.