Gabriel Okara was born at Bumoundi, Bayelsa State, in the Niger Delta in 1921 and educated at Government College Umuahia in Nigeria and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He worked as a bookbinder and printer for Federal Government Press at Lagos, served as the director of cultural and information services for the short-lived Republic of Biafra, and was the general manager of the Rivers State newspaper and broadcasting corporations. He was an honorary member of the Pan-African Writers’ Association, a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, and a writer in residence at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Okara passed away on Monday, March 25, four weeks before his 98th birthday. In April 2016, UNP published Gabriel Okara: Collected Poems in the African Poetry Series. The editor of the book, Brenda Marie Osbey, observed, “It is with publication of Gabriel Okara’s first poem that Nigerian literature in English and modern African poetry in this language can be said truly to have begun.” Read more in Shelf Awareness.
For more information on Gabriel Okara: Collected Poems or other books in the series, visit the African Poetry Book Fund.