Award-winning poet Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek will speak on campus at 11:10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, in 106 Lanigan Hall.

Okot Bitek has an extensive body of writing – primarily poetry, but also essays and creative nonfiction. Her first book of poems “100 Days,” a collection of poetry on how to remember the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, won the 2017 Glenna Luschie Prize for African Poetry and the 2017 INDIEFAB Book of the Year (Poetry) award. It was also nominated for several writing prizes. 

“A is for Acholi,” her second book of poetry, is a sweeping collection exploring what it means to live in a diaspora, experiences of marginalization, and her experiences of life in Nairobi, Kenya and Vancouver, Canada. 

Okot Bitek has been an invited speaker at many universities and other venues, and now lives in Kingston, Ontario, working at Queen's University as an assistant professor of Black creative writing. 

“Her work will help SUNY Oswego students better understand how to write beautifully and powerfully about personal experiences of displacement and otherness, and how the political deeply impacts our private lives and trajectories,” said English and creative writing faculty member Neelika Jayawardane, who hosts Okot Bitek’s appearance.

Funding from Artswego, Hart Hall and the Department of English and Creative Writing make this invitation and talk possible.