DR LOUISA Uchum Egbunike has been named one of the BBC’s New Generation Thinkers 2016.
Louisa is a lecturer in the Department of English at Manchester Met, where she specialises in Nigerian literature, particularly representations of Igbo identity.
She is one of the organisers of the Annual Igbo Conference and is currently working on a project marking the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian-Biafra War. This includes working with the Nigerian Art Society UK on a series of exhibitions, and with the filmmaker Nathan Richards who is documenting the production of the artists’ work as they reflect on the local and global impact of the war.
Just 10 academics are selected each year to be part of New Generation Thinkers. They take part in a range of media appearances to publicise their subject, and work with a team from the BBC to produce a documentary for broadcast.
The scheme is backed by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Louisa said: “It is a way of engaging with the impact of this war. It was the first civil war in independent Africa and it had a huge influence on the way in which Africa is perceived – such as the images of starving children. Around British dinner tables parents routinely told their children to ‘eat up’ as ‘there are starving children in Africa’ and this depiction of Africa can be traced back to this war.”
The announcement was made at the Hay Festival and an interview with Louisa on Radio 3 can be heard at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07cypf4
On June 15 she will make a second appearance on BBC Radio 3 for an in studio conversation piece on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the novel Efuru by Flora Nwapa, the first black African woman to be published, and the impact that had on writing.
Dr Jess Edwards, Head of the Department of English, said: “Through a long and rigorous selection process, the New Generation Thinkers scheme identifies just ten academics from across the sweep of the Arts and Humanities whose work pushes the boundaries of their discipline, and who are inspirational communicators. Louisa certainly brings those qualities to English research and teaching at Manchester Met and we're delighted that they've been recognised by the BBC and AHRC in this way.”