Popular Nigerian poet and novelist, Gabriel Imomotimi Okara is dead. Okara reportedly died on Monday at his residence in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital.
The renowned poet was born 24 April, 1921. He died four weeks to his 98th year birthday.
Okara became famous following the publication of his art work, The Voice in 1964.
The deceased, born at Bumoundi in Yenagoa, was the first Modernist poet of Anglophone Africa.
No official statement has been released either by his immediate family or the Bayelsa State Government on the development at the time of filing this report.
According to Brenda Marie Osbey, editor of his Collected Poems, “It is with publication of Gabriel Okara’s first poem that Nigerian literature in English and modern African poetry in this language can be said truly to have begun”.
In April 2017, the Gabriel Okara Literary Festival was held at the University of Port Harcourt in his honour.
The publication in May 2017 of the book Gabriel Okra, edited by Professor Chidi T. Maduka, addressed Okara’s “place in African literature and the fact that he has not been given his full due in African literature”, which was partly attributable, said Lindsay Barrett, to Okara (like himself) not having been “university-based”, while Odia Ofeimun acknowledged Okara as “not just the oldest writer but a foundational producer of the literary arts in our part of the world.