Meet Onyeka Nwelue: The Nigerian who established James Currey Fellowship at Oxford
The University of Oxford has sustained a fine tradition of scholarship for centuries but great things are still taking place at the institution.
One of such is the James Currey Society established in 2019
by Nigerian writer and filmmaker, Onyeka Nwelue.
James Currey co-founded the African Writers’ Series with Chinua Achebe under Heinemann Publishing and published over 250 books by African writers.
Nwelue was born in Nigeria in 1988 and has lived in Mexico, France, the US and now splits his time between the UK and South Africa.
At 33, he is an Academic Visitor at the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He has published over 11 books.
He founded the James Currey Society, through which he established the James Currey Prize for African Literature and the James Currey Fellowship in cooperation with African Studies Centre, at the University of Oxford.
The James Currey Literature Festival will take place from September 1 – 3, 2022 in Oxford.
The James Currey Prize for African Literature comes with a cash prize of £1,000 and the James Currey Fellowship is awarded to an expert on writing and publishing, with a high academic qualification.
Nwelue is a filmmaker, publisher, talk-show host, bookseller and author whose book Hip-Hop is Only for Children won the Creative Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2015 Nigerian Writers’ Awards.
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 Awards.
Island of Happiness was inspired by true events in Oguta.
He is the founder of La Cave Musik, a record label based in Paris, France and co-founded the London-based Abibiman Publishing.
He studied Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 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 was a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg, in South Africa, where he runs a bookshop Hattus Books and co-founded World Arts Agency.
He is currently a visiting assistant professor and Visiting Fellow of African Literature and studies in the English Language Department of the Faculty of Humanities, Manipur University in Imphal, India. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for International Studies, Ohio University, where he spent time in Athens, Ohio.