HONORS & AWARDS



  • Invitation to and Participation at the Sahitya Akademi World Poetry Festival, NewDelhi, India (March 19-24, 2014)

  • 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

  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Small Grant, 2012 to study Oral Poetry.

  • 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 ofAmerica 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)

  • Senior Faculty Grant, UNC Charlotte, 2008

  • COAS Small Grant, 2007/2008

  • 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)

  • UNC Charlotte Senior Faculty Research Grant (2005)

  • Fellow, Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY (August 2004)

  • Fellow, Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK(May/June, 2004)

  • Southern Regional Education Board Small Grant (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.

  • UNC Charlotte Curriculum/Instructional Development Grant for 2002/2003

  • Consultant, African Section, Encyclopedia Americana (2002-2005)

  • Consultant, National Museum of African Arts, New York (2001-2004)

  • Residency at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center for Scholars and Artists, Bellagio, Italy(July, 2001)

  • UNC Charlotte Summer Research Grant (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’sUdje Dance Songs (1999/2000)

  • Fundacion Valparaiso fellowship, Mojacar, Spain (November 1999)

  • UNC Charlotte Summer Research Grant (1999).

  • UNC Charlotte Faculty Research Support Grant (1998/99)

  • Chair, Departmental Search Committee UNC-Charlotte (1998/99)

  • Chair, AAAS Academic Programs Committee UNC-Charlotte (1997 onward)

  • Winner, All-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry (November 1997)

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Professorship, Albright College, Reading,PA (1996/97)

  • UNC Charlotte Summer Research Grant (1997)

  • UNC Charlotte Faculty Research Support Grant (1996/97)

  • UNC Charlotte Research Grant (1995/96)

  • Assistant Editor, The Southern Poetry Review (1994 to the present)

  • Winner, Association of Nigerian Authors' Poetry Award (1994)

  • Fellow, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA (1994)

  • Southern Regional Education Board Small Grant (1994)

  • Chair, AAAS Publicity Committee, UNC-Charlotte (1994-97)

  • UNC Charlotte Curriculum/Instructional Development Grant (1993/94)

  • UNC Charlotte Research Grant (1993/94)

  • UNC Charlotte Research Grant (1992/93)

  • Advisory Board, International Black Writers of Charlotte (1993-96)

  • Chief Judge for Art (Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture) in the NAACP-sponsoredcompetition at J.C. Smith University, Charlotte (April 17, 1993)

  • Chairman, Haperprint Chapbook Competition for North Carolina Writers (1993)

  • Co-directed workshop on World Literature to high school teachers of CabarrusCounty (June 28/29, 1992)

  • Southern Regional Education Board Small Grant (1992)

  • Charity Poetry Reading at Barnes & Noble, Poplar Street Books, The KnowBookstore, and the Charlotte/Mecklenburg Public Library (since 1990 to the present)

  • Honorable Mention for The Endless Song by the Noma Award Committee (1990)

  • Nominated for Nigeria's National Merit Award (1989)

  • Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria) Creative Writers Association Roll of Honor Award(1989)

  • Overall Winner, BBC Arts and Africa Poetry Award (1988)

  • Winner, Association of Nigerian Authors' Poetry Prize (1988)

  • Winner, All-Africa Christopher Okigbo Prize for Poetry (1988)

  • Member, Senate Publications Committee, Univ. of Maiduguri, Nigeria (1988-89)

  • Member, University Postgraduate Board, Univ. of Maiduguri, Nigeria (1987-89)

  • Acting Head, Department of English, Univ. of Maiduguri, Nigeria (1987, 1988)

  • Africa Regional Winner, Commonwealth Poetry Prize (1987)

  • Fellowship in Writing of The University of Iowa, Iowa City (1985)

  • Editor, Liwuram: Journal of the Humanities, Univ. of Maiduguri, Nigeria (1984-86)