Gabriel Okara

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Dr Gabriel Okara

Gabriel Okara was one of the greatest Nigerian poets, read widely even during the precolonial days. Born in 1921 at Bumoundi in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, Okara’s The Call of River Nun, published in 1953, was one of his several award winning poems. He indeed personified the Anglophone African poets during the pre-colonial days and his several poetry works have been translated to other languages.

In 2005, Okara’s The Dreamer; His Vison was listed as one of the winners of the prestigious The Nigeria Prize for Literature. Okara was, before now, an icon in Nigerian literary cycle. He was also reputed to have won several other awards including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, for his The Fisherman’s Invocation in 1979 and Pan African Writers’ Association Honorary Membership Award in 2009.

He attended Government College Umuahia and later Yaba College and in 1945 became a printer and book binder for a colonial Nigerian government printing press, where he horned his literary skills and self-educated himself even more.  Okara passed away in 2009.