In the Africa at LSE blog, PfAL 5 candidate Yossie Olaleye and a fellow classmate meet Professor Pius Adesanmi to discuss current issues in Nigerian politics, the African diaspora, and contemporary Nigerian literature.
If you close your eyes and picture a literature professor in Ottawa, you do not picture Pius Adesanmi. Expecting to be greeted by a stuffy thesaurus personified, I was instead confronted by the beaming face of the professor himself who had emailed me an hour ahead of our scheduled time to tell me that he was ready. “Oh, so this is only audio? I could have worn jeans and a T-shirt,” he lamented.
Yossie Olaleye and I met with Pius Adesanmi to discuss his views on African identity, literature, and contemporary Nigerian politics. In his role in at Carleton University in Canada, we were particularly interested in his viewpoint as a member of the Nigerian diaspora, and where it placed him in ongoing conversations.
Pius Adesanmi burst onto the international literary scene in 2011 with the publication of his book You’re Not a Country, Africa! – a poignant mixture of personal essays, political discourses, satirical letters, and literary criticism. The book was awarded the Penguin Prize for African Writing in 2010. More recently, Adesanmi was appointed Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University in Canada.
On the vision for the Institute and his job as Director, Pius said that as Director, he has a mandate to facilitate “strategic linkages” between Canadian institutions organising Africa-focused initiatives in order to blend them into the strategic vision of the Institute, whose aim is to shift narratives — something that 2016 LSE Africa Summit also aims to do.