Dr. Osonye Tess Onwueme
Playwright   Novelist   Scholar   Cultural Activist   International Speaker   Performer


"Tess is a rare jewel in this country..." - Dr. K. Kendall, Smith College, MA.


Exalted New Post / Fonlon Nichols Prize / My Work Is Larger Than Any Female Ideology 

Guardian news (The State Of My Art)


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Selected (Inter)National Keynote Addresses/Presentations

November 14, 2011: “Erupting Silences.” Senghor-Damas-Cesaire Distinguished Lecture Series (affirming Negritude and today’s Afrocentric Movement), Africana Studies, Villanova University, PA.

November 10, 2011:  “Ode To the Taken.” Co-Keynote Presentation following Winona LaDuke at the Human Rights International Conference, held at the Powers Hall, Central Michigan University, Mt Pleasant, MI.

2009:  “I Write To Kill Silence!” Keynote Address, Presented at the 2009 Tess International Conference, held at the Rockview Royale Hotel, co-hosted by the Central Michigan University, USA, the University of Abuja, Nigeria, and the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, from November 11-14, 2009.

2009: “If you Want Justice, You Must work For Truth!” Fonlon-Nichols Award Address, Presented at the Meeting of the African Literature Association, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA, April 17, 2009., and published in  the Journal of the African Literature Association (JALA), Vol 3, 2 (Summer/Fall) 2009, 39-47.

December 10, 2007:  Press Interviews, dialogues, and literary workshop with the Sudanese Writers’ Union held in Khartoum University, Khartoum, Sudan.

December 9, 2007:   Guest Writer/Speaker at the Khartoun University, and the University of Sudan, Khartoum, Sudan.

December 3, 2007:    Guest Writer/Speaker at the KICS International Community Centre, Khartoum, Sudan.

October 13-14, 2007:  Guest Writer/Speaker at Pace University, New York.

March 9, 2007:  Guest Writer/Performer at the Play/Poetry Reading Session at the Hotel Swosti with Orissa poets/writers, Gopalpur-on-sea, East India.  Also featured as Guest Writer/Speaker, Berhampur University, Berhampur, East India.

March 8, 2007:  Guest Writer/Speaker, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, East India. Also featured as Guest Writer/Performer at the Play/Poetry Reading Session at the Trident Hotel, Bhubaneswar with several Oriya poets/writers, Bhubaneswar, East India.

March 7, 2007: Inaugural/Keynote Speaker, seminar on “The Dialectics of America: Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in American Society and Culture” at the American Center, Kolkata, East India.

March 6, 2007:  Guest Writer/Speaker on African American Literature, Department of English, University of Mumbai, West India, followed by the Press Interview at the American Center, Mumbai.

March 5, 2007: Guest Writer/Speaker to the SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, hosted by the US State Department at the American Center Auditorium, Mumbai, West India.

March 2-3, 2007: Inaugural Guest Writer at the National Seminar on Language and Literature hosted by the English Department, Saurashtra University, Rajkot, West India.

February 27 -28, 2007: Inaugural Speaker, Seminar on Cultural Diversity in South Asia, organized by the University of New Delhi and the South Asian Project at the International Centre. Inaugural Address “On the Limits of Cultural Diversity.”

February 26, 2007: Keynote/Plenary Speaker and US State Department Guest of Honor at the Inaugural Session on Comparative Perspectives on American/African American Cultural Literary Writings, at Jai Narayan Vyas University, Jodhpur, North India. Keynote Presentation on “Dissing Acts: Staging Exile and Alienation in African American Drama/Literature.”

February 23, 2007: Keynote Speaker/Guest Writer at the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi, India, following my appointment to the US Department Public Diplomacy Speaker Program in India.

October 27-78, 2006: Plenary/Keynote Speaker––with Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, and Bill Ashcroft) International Commonwealth/Postcolonial

Studies Association Conference, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California.

April 24-25, 2006: Distinguished Lecture & the Artists’ Series Speaker/Writer, Pace University, Westchester, New York.

February 24, 2006: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker for the Public Reading/Lecture Series in celebration of Black History Month, Jumel Terrace Book Place, Harlem, New York.

February 25, 2006:  Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, Queens College, Queens, New York.

November 24-27, 2005: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, Department of English and Theater, Faculty of Arts, and Faculty of Fine Arts, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

November 18-20, 2005: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, Miami International Book Fair, Miami, Florida.

November 15-17, 2005: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, International Studies Week, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

October 24-28, 2005: Keynote Speaker/Guest Writer, South Central Modern Language Association (SCMLA), Houston University, Houston, Texas.

May 4, 2005: Invited Public Reading organized by NOTA for the department Annual English Festival, English Dept., University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

April 11-14, 2005: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, English Department, Hamilton College, Canton, New York.

April 9, 2005: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker: University of Minnesota (African Night), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul.

February 23-26, 2005: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Lake Forest University, Illinois.

November 23-24, 2005: Invited CLR James Distinguished Lecture/Speaker, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York.

October 20-22, 2004:              Invited Guest Writer, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York.

October 13-17, 2004: Invited Guest Speaker Yari Yari: Black Women Writers Dissecting Globalization––other featured/guest speakers included Toni Morrison,Maya Angelou, Sonia Sanchez, Octavia Butler, etc.

February 22-25, 2004: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker for the 2004 African American History Month, College of Humanities, and Graduate Studies, Hamline University, Minneapolis St. Paul, Minnesota. 

February 9, 2004: Invited Guest Speaker/Writer in African Literature organized by Dr. Akua Saar. Department of African Language and Literature. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.

November 13-15, 2003: Invited Guest Writer/Performer in Celebration of Africa and the Black World, Epson Downs/Surrey England & Piccadilly Square, London.

April 16, 2003: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker at the Collegiums for African American Research (CAAR) Conference, held in King Alfred’s College, Winchester, England, from April 12-15, 2003.

April 5, 2003: Keynote Speaker at the Women Studies Conference in celebration of the 2003 Women History Month, held in Indiana University, Northwest, Indiana, USA, from April 3-6, 2003.

April 17, 2002 : Keynote Speaker at the Southern Institute and Research in African Studies (SIRAS) Convention, Frankfurth, Kentucky State University, Kentucky, USA.  

April 13, 2002: Keynote Speaker at the SIRAS/Black Expressions Conference, Kentucky State University, Lexington, Kentucky. The Keynote Address, delivered “Sojourner Speaks to the Global Village.”

April 5, 2002:  Keynote Speaker for the 2002 Annual Convention of the African Literature Association held in San Diego, California, from April 4-8, 2002.  The Keynote Address Delivered: “Buried in the Rubble: The Missing Face in African Literature.”

February 19, 2002:  Invited Guest Lecture/Dramatic Readings—“Hear Us too! Niger Delta Rural Women and the Multinational Oil Companies” --presented at the Salem College, Winston Salem, North Carolina.

April 6-7, 2001: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker. St Andrews University, Rock Island, Iowa.

April 4-5, 2001: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker. Augustana University, Davenport, Illinois.

March 29, 2001: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker at the Housotanic College, New Haven, Connecticut.

December 5, 2000: Invited Guest Speaker/Writer at the Millennium Seminar on African Writing, organized by the Kennedy Center, Washington DC.

November 4, 2000: Invited Guest Writer at the International Writers’ Celebration of Chinua Achebe’s 70th Birthday, held in Bard College, New York. This special event featured the following distinguished writers and Nobel Laureates: Toni Morrison, Wole Soyinka, with renowned writers like Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Nadine Gordimer, Chinua Achebe, Sonia Sanchez, Gil Noble John Edgar Wideman, and Tsitsi Dangaremba.

October 7, 2000 :   Keynote Address/Featured Speaker, Women Studies Conference, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven CT., USA.

October 7, 2000: Featured Writer/Performer, Women Studies Conference on Writers of  the African Diaspora, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut.

October 6, 2000: Keynote Speaker at the Women Studies Conference, on Writers of the African Diaspora, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven Connecticut.

July 27, 2000: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker at Beloit College & Beloit Public Schools, Beloit, Wisconsin.

April 28, 2000: Featured Writer/Speaker at the Women Studies Program and the English Department, Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin.     

March 2000: Keynote Address to the Association of Nigeria Authors Annual Convention, National Theatre, Lagos.

December 4-7, 1999: Guest Speaker/Writer, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN.

November 7-11, 1999: Invited Guest/Writer/Speaker, the Millennium Conference for the International Pan African Writers Festival/Celebration, Accra, Ghana.

October 1999: Keynote Address, at the International Conference on African Drama, held at the University of Alberta,Edmonton, Canada.

September 27-30, 1999: Invited Guest Speaker/Writer, at the Texas University. San Antonio, Texas.

July 29-August 5 1999: Invited Guest Speaker/Performer, National Black Theater Festival, Winston Salem, North Carolina. Dramatic readings and lectures on the “Drumbeats in Black Women Women’s Drama.

May 1999: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker at the English Department & African American Studies Department, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.

April 9-13, 1999: Featured Speaker for the Distinguished Lecture/Writer Series, at the University of Houston, Houston, Texas. Lecture Title:  “Disconnections: Postcolonial Stages of Exile and Alienation In Caribbean Women’s Drama.”

January 19-23, 1999: Invited Guest Writer at The Hellenic International Theatre Institute (ITI), at the invitation of conveners, the International Women Playwrights Conference in Athens & Delphi Centre, Greece.

March 23-April 4, 1998: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, Swedish Cultural Centre in Stockholm on the invitation of the UNESCO & the  Bellagio Publishing Group, regarding The Ubuntu 2000: Movements for Global Visions of  Cultural Policy And Connectivity.

February 19-27, 1998:                 Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, “Dialogues on AfricanWriting & Publishing, held in Arusha, Tanzania, and Jointly organized by the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, Uppsala, Sweden and The African Books Collective in  Oxford, UK. 

October 1997:                           Invited Guest Speaker, "Playwrights’ Panel Discussion on Black Theatre" in Yari-Yari Conference on Women Writers of African Descent, New York University, New York—organized by the Organization of Women Writers of African Descent.

November 1997:  Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, St. Mary's College, St. Mary's City, Maryland, USA.

November 1997: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker, "Dialogues on African Writing and  Publishing, organized by the DagHammaskjold Foundation in Upsalla,Sweden, in collaboration with the African Books Collective (ABC), Oxford, United Kingdom held in Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa.

September 27, 1997: Keynote Speaker/Guest Writer to the Nigerian Foundation in celebration of the 37th Nigerian Independence Anniversary, held in Adams Hotel, Houston, Texas—my Thematic Address: Lost Generation? Nigerians Abroad And Posterity.

August 23, 1997: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker at the Anioma Association of Los Angeles, California—my presentation titled; “Lost Abroad: What Will I Tell My Mother?”

May 24, 1997:  Keynote Speaker at the Inauguration of the National Chapter of the Anioma Association of Nigeria held in Los Angeles, California—my presentation titled; "This Time Tomorrow, Where Will You Be (Anioma) Woman?"

May, 9-11, 1997:  Invited Guest Writer/Performer, jointly arranged by the English Department, and the African/African Studies Department at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire--presentation of staged/dramatic readings.

April 19-20, 1997:   Guest Writer/Speaker at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina—my presentation; "The Black Writer in A Post-Colonial State.”           

April 9-11, 1997  :  Keynote Speaker/Guest Writer at the 1997 Morgan State University First International Conference on “Black Creativity and the State of the Race” held in Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland—my thematic address: Who Can Silence The Drums: Black Creativity And The State Of The Race.

November 24-27,1996 : Invited Plenary Speaker/Panelist at the Annual Convention of the African Studies Association 1996 (ASA), San Francisco, California, USA.

April 1996: Invited Plenary/Roundtable Speaker/Writer at the Annual Convention of the African Literature Association (ALA), held in Accra, Ghana.

August 4, 1995 : Invited Guest Writer/Speaker/Performer at the 1995 National Black Arts/Theatre Festival held in Winston Salem, North Carolina.                                  

May 1996: Invited DANTES continued assignment on developing a National Curriculum on Diversity at the invitation of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), Princeton in New Jersey.

August 1995: Invited Guest Speaker/Performer to the 1995 National Black Arts/Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina, August 5, 1995.

May 1995: Invited by the Educational Testing Services (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey to lead a team of professors in designing a new national curriculum/course on Diversity.

April 1995 :  Invited Guest Writer/Speaker to the National Black Theatre Festival (Theme: The Spirit of Black Theatre into the 21st Century", held in Medgar Evers College, New York, April 26-30, 1995—topic of my presentation; “(Dis)Connections: African, African American and Caribbean Drama.”

April 16-19, 1995: Invited Guest Performer/Speaker at the Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, April 16-19, 1995—organized by the Eugene B. Redmond Literary Club, convened by Professor E.B. Redmond, Poet Laureate of East St. Louis, Illinois.

March  30, 1995: Invited Guest Performer/Writer/Speaker on “Infusing Diversity into the North American Curriculum, organized by the Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

March 17, 1995: Keynote Speaker/ Guest Writer to the 1995 convention of the National Council for the Teachers of Education (NCTE) held in Minneapolis, MN, Workshop on International Drama; my presentation titled; “Let’s Play Together: Connecting World Voices Through Drama.”

March 23, 1995: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker for the 1995 Women’s History Month, organized by the Women Studies Program in Univ. of Wisconsin, Stout—my presentation, titled, “Feminist Aesthetics in African Literature and Drama.’

February 1994: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker to the convention of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AACU), Philadelphia, PA—my presentation titled; "The Question of Intercultural Studies in the American Academy.”

November 5-7, 1994: Guest Writer/Speaker/Panel Presenter to the 1994 African Studies Association (ALA) convention held at the Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

May 29-30, 1993: Keynote Speaker/Guest Writer at the International Symposium on African Theatre and Film, held in the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada—my presentation titled; “The Next Stage for African Theatre?”

March 30, 1992: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker for the Women’s History Month Guest Lecture Series at the CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NY, New York—my presentation titled; “Sheroism: Bridges Across Land and Sea.”

May 17-20, 1991: Invited Guest Writer/Speaker at the 2nd International Woman Playwright’s Conference, University of Toronto, Glendon College, Guelph, Ontario, Canada—my presentation titled; “The Legacy of Oedipus: Women and Tragedy.”

April 4-9, 1991: Invited Guest Writer/Performer to the Theatre Department at Smith College, Northampton, MA.

March 17-20, 1991: Invited Guest Speaker/Writer at the 1991 African Literary Association Conference, Loyola College, New Orleans—my presentation titled; “The Co-Wife Syndrome: The Politics of Being Woman in African Folktales.”

February 4-7, 1990:  Guest Writer/Speaker to the 1990 International Symposium on Chinua Achebe's Fiction held at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria—my presentation titled; “The Community as Shadow of the Individual: Issues in the Social Theory of Nanganism and the Cult of Personality in Achebe’s Novels.”

April 4-7, 1990: Panel Presenter at the 1990 Annual Convention of the African Literature Association (ALA), held in the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.; my presentation titled; “Speaking Without Tongue: Crisis of Identity in Ayi Kwei Armah’s Novels.”

June 14-July 1989: Invited Guest Writer (sponsored by the British Council) for the International Panels/ Dialogues on Writing Across the Atlantic: The Contemporary British Writer held in King’s College, Cambridge University, England. Panel of distinguished writers included: William Golding, Doris Lessing, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Ondaatje, Arnold Wesker and Wole Soyinka—my presentation titled; “The New Face of Women in Africa.”

March 26, 1989: Keynote Speaker for the occasion marking the celebration of the appointment of the first three female professors at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka—my presentation titled; “The Art of Being a Woman and More.”                    

November 1988: Presidential Address delivered at the 1988 Annual Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), held in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria—my presidential address titled; “The Tribe of Writers in Search of Homestead.”

October 14-22, 1988: Featured Writer/Speaker/Performer at the First Convention of the Women Writers International, held at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo, New York in October 1988—my presentation titled; “Mythopoeic Vision and the Revolutionary Imperative: New Orientations in Modern Nigerian Drama.”   

February 14, 1988: Keynote Speaker at the 988 Annual Convention of the Association of Nigeria Authors (ANA), delivered in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria—my presentation titled; “Of ANA, Growth and Harvest.”

December, 4, 1987: Panel Presenter at the Annual English and Literature Conference held in the University of Calabar, May 4-9, 1987—my presentation titled; “The Unanswered Question:  Literature and National Consciousness.”

October 14, 1986: Panel Presenter at the Annual Convention of the Literary Society of Nigeria (LSN) held in the University of Benin, Benin-City, Nigeria –my presentation titled; “The Writer as a Pathfinder: Dimensions of Epic Theatre in Osofisan’s Once Upon Four Robbers.”

May 7, 1986: Panel Presenter at the 5th Annual Literary Society of Nigeria Conference, University of Port Harcourt, May 6-9, 1986—my presentation titled; “The Function of Metaphor in Osifisan’s The Chattering and The Song.”

February 22, 1985:  Panel Presenter for the Seminar Series in English Studies,Organized by the Department of English, University of Benin, Benin-City, Nigeria—my presentation titled; “Osofisan’s Idiom of Confrontation:  An Alternative Mode of Value and Valuation in Modern Nigerian Literary Aesthetics.”

May 7, 1985: Panel Presenter at the 6th Annual Literary Society of Nigeria (LSN) Conference held in the University of Ahmadu Bello (ABU), Zaria, May 6-9, 1985—my presentation titled; “The Quest for Identity: Female Protest in XaLa and So Long a Letter.”

January 22, 1985: Panel Presenter at the 5th Annual Literary Society of Nigeria (LSN) Conference held in the University of Benin, Benin-city, Nigeria from January 22-25, 1985—my presentation titled; “Semiotics and Semantics in Camara Laye’s Radiance of the King.”

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