Profiling E.C. Osondu: The Making Of An African Author

Photo of Culture Trip
14 December 2016

E.C. Osondu is a true African author. Hailing from Nigeria and living in the country of dreams, the US, he is an invigorating breath of fresh air to the African writing scene. He is especially gifted in the short story genre, and has attained a number of notable achievements. Here are five things you should definitely know about E.C Osondu.

The story that made him

Many authors are made by a single story. Chinua Achebe was elevated to the lofty heights of literary eminence by his novel Things Fall Apart, Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine brought him much acclaim and recognition, and Ngugi wa Thiong’s The River Between is another instance of literary genius. The story that hastened the success of E.C. Osondu and made him the subject of literary conversations the world over is none other than the story published online, A Letter From Home. An epistolary narrative that details the concerns of an African mother, and the questions that she poses to her migrant son, this work is a tour de force in more ways than one.

Country of origin

For most authors, their home county makes up part of their most treasured experiences, and their publications are indeed inspired by their culture. Hailing from Nigeria, E.C. Osondu has a rich and deep heritage; he is from a country that has produced literary giants such as Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe. E.C. Osondu is indeed a ‘son of the soil’, which is evident in his many literary works.

Career steps of E.C. Osondu

The author worked as an advertising copywriter for a good number of years, but currently resides in the United States. In 2008, he became a fellow in Creative Writing at Syracuse University in New York, and in 2010 he became an assistant professor of English at Providence College. He taught courses in Creative Writing, Introduction to Literature, and the Development of Western Civilization, and is currently an assistant Professor of English at Providence College, Rhode Island, USA. His publications include: This House is Not For Sale (2015), Debriefing (2014) and Waiting (2009).

Personal quirks and tastes

E.C. Osondu, while supremely gifted at writing stories, would like to have honed musical skills or to have played an instrument. He is naturally inspired by the arts and his favorite books of all time include James Baldwin’s collected essays for their cadence, humor and Old Testament-like rhythm, as well as Ben Okri’s short stories for their magic, musicality and almost perfect exquisite charm. Intrigued by lexis and idiomatic expression, the author is also a fan of aphorisms. He once confessed to an interviewer that when particular sayings come to mind, maxims make him laugh. An instance of his favorite aphorism is: ‘a man shouldn’t be angry with the sun because it failed to light his cigar’.

Notable achievements

E.C. Osondu has remarkable achievements for any writer. In 2006 his short story, A Letter From Home was included in the top ten most popular stories on the internet by storySouth. In 2007 he was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African literature in 2007 for his story, Jimmy Carter’s Eyes. Most notably, in 2009 he finally won the Caine Prize for African literature for his story Waiting published in The Caine Prize also brought Osondu an all-expenses paid month’s residency at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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