The Nigerian author and academic Uche Umezurike is one of four academics receiving the Provost’s Postdoctoral Awards for Indigenous and Black Scholars at the University of Calgary, Canada.

In its inaugural year, the award, which is the first of its kind in Western Canada, demonstrates “the institutional commitment to support the next generation of diverse researchers and community-engaged scholarship through equity-focused programs.” It awards two Indigenous and two Black scholars for postdoctoral positions at University of Calgary. The two-year positions will provide a $50,000 salary, plus benefits and a $5,000 research allowance.

An alumnus of the International Writing Program, Uche Umezurike’s work has appeared in several journals including Weaverbird CollectionNew Nigerian WritingWater TestamentCalvacadeAuthor Africa, Camouflage and Brittle Paper. His new research project is titled “Desiring Home: Blackness, Belonging, and Diaspora in Canada”

According to a statement on the University’s website, Umezurike’s work centers on African Canadian film and writing.

Umezurike will examine how African Canadian writers and filmmakers negotiate the complexities of home in Canada and how the stories they tell enrich or problematize our understandings of what it means to be a Black Canadian. His research addresses the lack of literary scholarship on African migrants’ narratives of Canada. 

Umezurike is also interested in examining the presence or absence of Indigenous Peoples in fiction, memoirs, and films by African Canadians, and its implications for Black and Indigenous solidarity in Canada.

Uche comments on the significance of his work:

“The authors and filmmakers whose works I am researching offer us glimpses into the ways immigrants seek and nurture communities that enable them to become and thrive amid structures that disable and threaten their selfhood…. I find it inspiring that the stories these authors and filmmakers tell are not entirely of abjection and negation but stories that prompt us to appreciate the resilience of immigrants.”

Congratulations to Uche Umezurike! We look forward to the finished work.