Donatus Nwoga

Donatus Nwoga (30 July 1933 - 1991) was a poetry critic and professor of African literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Donatus Nwoga
Donatus Ibeakwadalam Nwoga

(1933-07-30)30 July 1933
  • Literary critic
  • Academic
Years active?—1991
Notable workWest African Verse: An Anthology, and Poetic Heritage: Igbo Traditional Verse

Early life and educationEdit

Nwoga was from Mbaise in Imo State. He studied at St Brigid's School, Ahiara.[1] In the 1950s, Nwoga studied at the University of London and then at Queen's University Belfast, where he attended classes with the poet Seamus Heaney.[2] Nwoga was a founding editor of the student magazine Gorgon and likely the first person to publish Heaney's work.[3][4]


Nwoga and Romanus Egudu researched Igbo poetry and published a collection of translated into English.[5] Nwoga taught with Chinua Achebe in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.[6]

He was a member of organisations including the African Literature Association, he International African Institute, the Association for Commonwealth Language and Literature Studies, and The Folklore Society.[1]


Nwoga was the author of West African Verse: An Anthology, and Poetic Heritage: Igbo Traditional Verse, amongst others.[7][8]

Death and legacyEdit

Following Nwoga's death in 1991, Heaney wrote a tribute to him titled "A Dog Was Crying Tonight in Wicklow Also".[9]

The Institute of African Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, launched a Dictionary of Igbo Proverbs in Nwoga's honour.[10]

A memorial lecture was in Nwoga's name was created at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.[11] In the opening remarks of the 2020 lecture, Dean of the Faculty of Arts Nnanyelugo Okoro described Nwoga as "a humanist and intellectual elephant.[11]


  1. ^ a b Udo, Mary (2017-03-23). "NWOGA, Prof. Donatus Ibe". Biographical Legacy and Research Foundation. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  2. ^ "Donatus Ibeakwadalam Nwoga". Celebrating Igbo People. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  3. ^ Suhr-Sytsma, Nathan (2017-07-10). Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-16684-4.
  4. ^ Hoy, Seán (September 2017). "Ambassador's Blog: Letter from Nsukka". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  5. ^ Fraser, Robert (1986-09-04). West African Poetry: A Critical History. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-31223-3.
  6. ^ Matzke, Christine; Raji, Remi; Raji-Oyelade, Aderemi; Davis, Geoffrey V. (2006). Of Minstrelsy and Masks: The Legacy of Ezenwa-Ohaeto in Nigerian Writing. Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-2168-6.
  7. ^ Nwoga, Donatus Ibe (1967). West African Verse: An Anthology. Longmans.
  8. ^ Egudu, Romanus N.; Nwoga, Donatus Ibe (1971). Poetic heritage: Igbo traditional verse. Nwankwo-Ifejika.
  9. ^ Innes, C.L.; Collier, Gordon (2013-11-26). "Africans and Ireland". In Lindfors, Bernth; Davis, Geoffrey V. (eds.). African Literatures and Beyond: A Florilegium. Rodopi. ISBN 978-94-012-0989-2.
  10. ^ Uzodinma, Emmanuel (2013-04-27). "Institute to launch dictionary of Igbo proverbs". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  11. ^ a b Odu, Ikechukwu (2020-02-14). "UNN would continue to honour academic excellence, hardwork — VC". Vanguard News. Retrieved 2020-06-11.