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The Founder

Dr. Onyeka Nwelue

Dr. Onyeka Nwelue is an influential literary guru in Africa and Diaspora. He is a multitalented scholar with rare literary ingenuity. As a young brilliant scholar, Dr. Nwelue has proved to be exceptional in his career. He is a Nigerian filmmakerpublishertalk-show hostauthoracademic visitor and founder of the James Currey Society, at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford and  La Cave Musik, a record label based in Paris, France. He is also a co-founder of the UK-based Abibiman Publishing. He held an academic position as a visiting research fellow at the Center for International StudiesOhio University. Dr. Nwelue is also a visiting assistant professor and visiting fellow of African literature and studies in the English Language Department of the Faculty of HumanitiesManipur University in ImphalIndia.

Recently, Dr. Nwelue’s academic prowess has earned him a new academic position as a Visiting Scholar to the Centre of African Studies in the University of Cambridge. He is also the Dean of the School of Cinematographic Studies at Université Queensland in Haiti.

As a versatile scholar, Dr. Nwelue has promoted academic readership in various ways. He is the founder and Director of James Currey Literary Festival, which takes place annually at Weston Library, University of Oxford. To this same literary event, a bust was unveiled on the Ist of September, 2022 in honour of James Currey’s literary achievement. Dr. Newlue also established the Henry Louis Gates Jr. Fellowship, at the Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge in honour of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. He had also instituted the Akachi Ezeigbo Prize for Literature and the Earl Lovelace short fiction to promote literary scholarship.

Nwelue studied sociology and anthropology at the University of NigeriaNsukka, and earned a scholarship to study directing at the Prague Film School in Czech Republic. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, by Universite Queensland in Haiti in 2019. He studied ancient masterpieces of world literature, under Professor Martin Puchner at Harvard University. The Onyeka Nwelue Scholarship for outstanding Imo State Economics Students is named after him.

Notably, Dr. Onyeka Nwelu has written extensively as a writer. Most of his works have appeared in newspapers and magazines. In an interview, he identified himself as a feminist after making The House of Nwapa, he said: “I made The House of Nwapa, because I am a feminist. I believe we are all equal.” Early in his career, Nwelue wrote for The Guardian in Nigeria, an opportunity given to him by Jahman Anikulapo, the then editor of Sunday edition popularly known as The Guardian on Sunday. He adapted his novella Island of Happiness into an Igbo-language film, Agwaetiti Obiụtọ, which won Best Feature Film by a Director at the 2018 Newark International Film Festival and went on to be nominated for Best First Feature Film by a Director, and the Ousmane Sembene Award for Best Film in an African Language at the 2018 Africa Movie Academy AwardsIsland of Happiness was inspired by true events in Oguta. Nwelue is represented by literary agent Priya Doraswamy of Lotus Lane Literary Agency, based in New Jersey. In 2012, Debbie Edwards of Debbie Edwards Talent Management became his manager.

In early 2012, Nwelue was signed to the Pontas Agency in Spain. In August 2016, Nwelue’s documentary film on Flora Nwapa, entitled The House of Nwapa, premiered in Harare, Zimbabwe. His second novel, The Beginning of Everything Colourful, was shortlisted for the ANA Prose Fiction Prize in 2018, and his collection of poetry, The Lagos Cuban Jazz Club, was shortlisted for ANA Poetry Prize in the same year.

Dr. Onyeka Nwelue’s Creative Achievement are listed below:

  • The Abyssinian Boy
  • Wole Soyinka: Encounters with the Grey Maverick 
  • The Beginning of Everything Colourful
  • There Are No White People
  • An Angel on the Piano
  • Island of Happiness 
  • The Real Owners of Britain 
  • The Lagos Cuban Jazz Club
  • The Spice Bazaar
  • Lemon Grass
  • Hip-Hop is Only for Children:
  • Outside Weston Library
  • The Strangers of Braamfontein
  • The Last Trains out of Ukraine 
  • Burnt
  • Evening Coffee with Arundhati Roy
  • A Country of Extraordinary Ghosts
  • 84 Delicious Bottles of Wine(with Odega Shawa)
  • Saving Mungo Park(with Ikenna Chinedu Okeh, Hattus Books, 2021) (children novel)[

Filmography

  • The House of Nwapa
  • Island of Happiness

Notable Awards

  • Recipient, Institute for Research in Women, Children and Culture (IRAWCC) Grant
  • Recipient, Princ Claus Ticket Grant 2013
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Universite Queensland 2019.
  • ANA Prize for Fiction 2021
  • Best Indie Novel Winner- The Crime Fiction Lover Awards 2021
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