SYNW to remember Onwu-Otuyelu with poetry competition

Chief Charry Ada Onwu-Otuyelu

The Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW) has said it would celebrate the life of the late author of Ifeanyi and Obi and Triumph of Destiny, Chief Charry Ada Onwu-Otuyelu, with a poetry competition soon.

Mrs Onwu-Otuyelu died in last June, at the age of 64, and in his tribute, the president of the SYNW, Mr Wole Adedoyin, had described her as “a principled, dogged, and unrelenting writer, fully committed to the cause of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and the development of children literature in Nigeria.

Chief Onwu-Otuyelu hailed from Amaigbo in Imo State, and was married to Mr Olusoji Otuyelu, and had four children. Her areas of interest included folktales and history.

She was also a fellow of the Ebedi International Writers’ Residency, founded by Dr Wale Okediran.

A nurse by profession, Chief Onwu-Otuyelu got her nursing qualifications from the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan and Maternity Hospital, Lagos. She was an ex-soldier who worked with the Armed Forces Medical Service during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war. She was also one of the early female voices to take the genre of children’s literature very seriously. Ifeanyi and Obi won the Children’s literature award in 1988. She also featured in famous films like Kongi’s Harvest (by Wole Soyinka); Bisi Daughter of the River. The late author also featured in the Village Headmaster, Masquerade, and several Igbo plays on IBC TV& Radio.

Since her debut in the early 80s, Chief Onwu-Otuyelu branched-off into other research areas like history and sociology. After the closure of her clinic and maternity centre, she became fully active in Imo State politics.

Onwu-Otuyelu was also a former Director at the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture, as well as one of the founding members of ANA.

Speaking on the competition, Adedoyin said, the late author deserved everything that the literary body could do to immortalise her, “and this is what we are planning in our own little way.”

Her other literary works include, Ada Marries a Palm Tree, Our Grannies Tales, Adobi, Amaigbo Kwenu: History of my town; Catastrophe, One Bad Turn  and Good Morning Mr Kolanut.