Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) will share the life story of Prof. Tess Onwueme, a much-celebrated African playwright and a member of UW-Eau Claire’s English faculty, on its “Wisconsin Life” program at 5:30 p.m. today.
The program will air statewide on WPT’s main channel. It was first broadcast on Thursday night.
One of the best-known and most prolific women playwrights of African descent, Onwueme has received international awards that place her among a select group of world-class writers. Last year, she was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, which often is described as the most prestigious literature award in the world.
A playwright, scholar, activist and producer, Onwueme creates works that explore a range of social, political, historical, cultural and environmental concerns of Nigerians. Her work focuses specifically on women, youth and members of underprivileged and silenced “have-not” groups, especially those of the Niger Delta and related Third World societies.
Onwueme is one of the most celebrated and prolific women playwrights from Africa and is the only four-time winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors drama award. She has published more than 20 plays and has received numerous grants, international literary honors and awards.
UW-Eau Claire’s first Distinguished Professor of Cultural Diversity, Onwueme joined the university’s English faculty in 1994 and now serves as its first University Professor of Global Letters. She is currently working on a new play called “The Devil and his Christian Wife.”
The WPT program shares how Onwueme arrived in the United States with $100, as a single mother with five children, and how she turned her dreams into an acclaimed career. The program also is available online.