Isidore Okpewho Biography
(1941– ), The Epic in Africa: Towards a Poetic of the Oral Performance
Nigerian novelist and critic, born in Abraka in midwestern Nigeria, educated at the University of Ibadan and the University of Denver, Colorado. In 1992 he was appointed Professor of Afro-American and African Studies at Binghampton University, New York. His critical works include The Epic in Africa: Towards a Poetic of the Oral Performance (1979), Myth in Africa: A Study of its Aesthetic and Cultural Relevance (1983), and African Oral Literature: Backgrounds, Character and Continuity (1992). The Victims (1970), Okpewho's first novel, deals with the constraining effects of traditional superstitions on Africa's emergence into economic and cultural modernity. A subsequent novel, The Last Duty (1976), draws on the Nigerian Civil War for its bleak treatment of a woman's struggle to survive in a territory rendered hostile by the conflict. Tides (1993) centres on the Nigerian government's complicity with international oil interests in the despoliation of the natural environment and the dispossession of indigenous peoples from their homelands.