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Biographical detail

Rightly regarded as one of the new Nigeria’s most visible literary voices, Uduma Kalu is highly a anthologised writer and multiple award winner. Born in Isiugwu Ohafia, Abia State of Nigeria in 1968, Kalu worked as Assistant Plant Clerk and freelance journalist before studying English at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he won some literary prizes including the University’s First Prize for Poetry in 1995. He founded the Writers’ Forum at the University and served the University in various capacities as Public Relation’s Officer and Editorial Member both at the Department of English and the Undergraduates’ Press Club, publishers of Panda Magazine, the most influential general interest magazine in that University . He served The Muse, described as the oldest student journal in Africa by Professor Bernth Lindfors, as Editorial Member. He was at various times Features, Arts and Sports Editor of a private newspaper, The Key Newspaper, based in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria after which he became a prolific and insightful literary contributor to Daily Champion, Vanguard, The Guardian, The Sun, Nigeria Today, The Source Magazine among others where he established his voice as one of the most reputable and pioneer critics of the new Nigerian literature.
Kalu was to strengthen this position after obtaining his Master Degree at the University of Ibadan and when he worked at the Champion Newspaper and later joining The Guardian, in 1999 to edit this Nigeria’s most authoritative newspaper’s Literature and Book Page. So far Kalu, through his writing and other contributions is known as a cultural activist. An advocate of a better deal for the arts and culture in Nigeria, in 2002, he was the only Nigerian delegate to the 25th Anniversary of the late Steve Biko where the eminent novelist , Professor Chinua Achebe, delivered lectures in Cape Town and Johannesburg. A public intellectual and speaker, Kalu has been invited to similar engagements in the USA and Germany, the latest being as keynote
speaker at the International Autobiographical
Association (IABA) Conference, 2006 in Mainz, Germany. He has continued to win other prizes such as the 2000 MUSON Prize for Poetry, Nigerian Merit Media Award, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), May Ayim International Black Literature Prize, Germany, among others.
As a journalist, Kalu has covered events at the Nigerian government’s State House, Aso Rock, Abuja, and others on former Presidents Nelson Mandela, and his wife, Graca from their Cape Town home in South Africa; Shehu Shagari; former Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the famous novelist, Chinua Achebe, the Nobel Laureates, Wole Soyinka and Nadine Gordimer, the black activist, Steve Biko, politics, arts, etc. His scoop on the return of Achebe to Nigeria after nine years in exile in 1999 brought to international limelight.
Kalu is a highly anthologised poet. He is among
those published in Camouflage: Best Contemporary
Nigerian Writers, 25 New Nigerian Poets, edited by Ishmael Reed and Toyin Adewale, May Ayim
Anthology, Omabe, Okike, Voices in the Volcano, among others.
Some References: http://www.africadatabase.org


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