HONORS & AWARDS

  • Winner, 2016 Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) for the Humanities.
  • Recipient of Carnegie African Diaspora Program Fellowship, 2016.
  • 2016 Winner, African Literature Association’s Fonlon-Nichols Award for commitment to democratic ideals, humanistic values, and literary excellence in Africa.
  • Participation at the Sahitya Akademi World Poetry Festival, New Delhi, India (March 19-24, 2014).
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award by Federal Government College, Warri, December 2013.
  • Participation at the International Poetry Festival, Medellin, Colombia (July 13-25, 2013).
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship (September 2013 to June 2014 in Nigeria).
  • Winner, Association of Nigerian Authors’ Cadbury Poetry Award, December 2011.
  • Faculty Grant, UNC Charlotte, 2012 to study Udje Oral Poetic Performance.
  • UNC Charlotte Marshal at Commencement, December 15, 2011.
  • My non-fiction Drawing the Map of Heaven: An African Writer’s Experience of America finalist for the inaugural Penguin Prize for African Writing (July 2010).
  • Invitation to and participation in PAWA World Poetry Festival, Accra, Ghana (November 2—8, 2008).
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor of English, IUUM, Kuala Lumpur, September 2008.
  • Second Tanure Ojaide International Conference, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria (July 9—12, 2008).
  • Received (with Dr. Rosemary Traore) UNC Charlotte’s Chancellor’s Diversity Grant (2007).
  • Fellow, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, VA (May 2007).
  • Appointed Frank Porter Graham Professor of Africana Studies in 2006.
  • Merit Award for Distinguished Old Students, Federal Government College, Warri, Nigeria. February 17, 2006.
  • Winner, UNC Charlotte’s First Citizens Bank Scholar Medal Award for 2005.
  • North Carolina Poet of the Week: February 25-March 3, 2006.
  • Invitation to and participation in Poetry Africa 2005, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa (October 10—15, 2005).
  • First International Conference on Tanure Ojaide, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria (July 7-10, 2005).
  • Fellow, Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY (August 2004).
  • Fellow, Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (May/June, 2004).
  • UNC Charlotte Senior Faculty Research Grant for 2004.
  • Winner, Association of Nigerian Authors/NDDC Gabriel Okara Poetry Prize (2003).
  • Fulbright Lecturing/Research Fellowship for 2002/2003.
  • Residency at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center for Scholars and Artists, Bellagio, Italy (July, 2001).
  • Elected Member of the International Association of University Professors of English, Lausanne, Switzerland (2000).
  • Juror, 16th Neustadt Literary Prize, U. of Oklahoma, Norman (2000).
  • Won National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for research on Nigeria’s Udje Dance Songs (1999/2000).
  • Fundacion Valparaiso fellowship, Mojacar, Spain (November 1999).
  • Winner, All-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry (November 1997).
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Professorship, Albright College, Reading, PA (1996/97).