2017 NLNG Literary Prize Winner and Poet Ikeogu Oke Dies At 51

Again, the literary community is mourning the loss of another prolific writer. What is going on? Last Monday, it was Tosyn Bucknor, ,Now, it’s the highly acclaimed poet, Ikeogu Oke.

On the 24th of November, 2018, Ikeogu Oke passed away in National Hospital Abuja after a brief illness. This news is even more shocking because only a few months ago, he made the pilgrimage to Christopher Okigbo’s village in the Return to Idoto festival. You can read more about it HERE.

Before his $100,000 NLNG Prize 2017 win made him famous, he was a renowned journalist. Literary enthusiasts who have been following the biggest literature prize in Africa will remember that this poet had won the Nigeria Prize for Literature (Poetry Category) for his book, The Heresiad, a book of epic poetry.

Ikeogu Oke was a widely published author. His poems and other writings were featured in international literary journals, anthologies and magazines. As a performance poet, he has performed his poems in Nigeria, South Africa and the United States. In 2014, he gave a spectaculr permance of his poems at Brown University.
So influential were Ikeogu’s poems, that  Nobel prize winner Nadine Gordime chose his second collection, Salutes without Guns, as her favorite Book of the Year for the Times Literary Supplement.
Ikeogu Oke was born in 1967 just shortly after the Nigerian-Biafran civil war had broken out. He bagged a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Calabar. His MA in Literature, however, was from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
He also published other works, some of which include Where I Was Born, The Lion and The Monkey, The Tortoise And The Princess and In The Wing Of Waiting.

In an interview with TheCableNG, he wrote:

“We can’t stop writing out of anger about our condition, or what we experience. The only thing is that we need to be conscious of making the product beautiful, because poetry is beautiful.”

Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam

Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam writes prose fiction and creative non-fiction. She is the founder of creativewritingnews.com. Her first novella, Finding Love Again was published by Ankara Press. Her second novella, The Heiress' Bodyguard was shortlisted for the Saraba Manuscript Awards. She currently works as content marketer for various online businesses. You can follow her at @cwritingnws.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: