Professor Taban Lo Liyong: The influential face of literature world

Posted: February 23, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël in Junub Sudan

By Awuol Gabriel Arok, Juba, South Sudan

February 23, 2018 (SSB) — Taban Lo Liyong (born 1939) is one of Africa’s well-known poets and writers of fiction and literary criticism.

Together on the same side of literature coin with his peers like late Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Okot p’Bitek, Henry Owuor-Anyumba, John Ruganda and others, passion for literature have immensely grew in Africa hence making Africa Literature the best in term of creativity, factuality and imagination.

Professor Lo Liyong was born in the Southern Sudan and grew up in Acholiland, Northern Uganda. He obtained his BA in Literature at Howard University, USA, and Master of Fine Arts (specializing in creative writing) from the University of Iowa, USA, where he was the first African to graduate in 1968 and became a Fellow of the International Writers Workshop.

Taban Lo Liyong is one of the liveliest figures on the African literary scene. His works are so unconventional in form and style that few critics know what to make of him or how to respond appropriately to the stimulation his writings provide. Some applaud, others condemn, but all admit that he is a highly original writer with an extravagant style.

He taught in Nairobi University before heading the Literature Department of the University of Papua New Guinea (1975-1977). He returned to the Sudan to work in the University of Juba till 1993 when he again went to the Far East to Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, where he was an Imperial Research Professor on Numerals in African languages, he has also taught in Australia and South Africa.

In 1995 Taban lo Liyong was appointed to the English Department in the University of Venda where he currently holds the Professorship of English Literature and Professorship of African Studies.

His Literature publications and writings include The Last Word (1969), Fixions & other stories (1969), Meditations in Limbo (1970), Eating Chiefs (1970), Franz Fanon’s Uneven Ribs (1971), The Uniformed man (1971), Another Nigger Dead (1972), Thirteen Offensives Against Our Enemies (1973), Popular Culture of East Africa (1973), Ballads of Underdevelopment (1976),  The Meditations of Taban Lo Liyong (1978), Another Last Word (1990), Culture is rutan (1991), The cows of Shambat (1992), Words That Melt a Mountain (1996), Homage to Onyame (1998), Carrying Knowledge Up a Palm Tree (1998), Lakwo Romo Pen Rut-The Thief of a Sheep and numerous other poems and articles.

In collaboration with Henry Owuor-Anyumba and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, he wrote On the Abolition of the English Department in 1968.

Independently, Liyong has had published over twenty books, Professor Taban used of creative art and writing has made him the admiring face of the literature world.

The intermingle of creativity and Africa traditions in comfy coat as exploited by his long time colleagues in profession such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Henry Owuor-Anyumba, John Ruganda, David Rubadiri, Christopher Okigbo, has flourished the creamy taste of secretive world of literature.

The Renowned writer and poet Taban Lo Liyong is currently a Professor of Literature at the University of Juba, South Sudan.

Taban Lo Liyong is the flying deer of the Literature world.

Awuol Gabriel Arok, a Writer and a Poet, has a Bachelor Degree in Social and Developmental Studies from the University of Juba, South Sudan, he is the author of unpublished book ‘‘The Wisdom Horn’’ and an Initiator of ‘‘Your Tribe is My Tribe’’ and ‘‘Giving Heart Foundation’’ initiatives. He can be reached via his email Address: jjmkamzeearokson@yahoo.com

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