On the Spot

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AbdulahiDenja Abdullahi is a poet, playwright, literary essayist and culture technocrat. Born in August, 1969 at Idah, he hails from Agbaja in Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State. He has been writing poetry for over two decades since his days as a student of English and literature at the University of Jos, Nigeria, where he was the best graduating student of the 1990 set. He also has a Masters in Literature-in-English, acquired at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria in 1992. His poems and other literary pieces have appeared in anthologies such as A Volcano of Voices (1999), Uncle Bola’s Promise (2003), Confluence Blues (2004) Abuja Acolytes (2000) Five Hundred Nigerian Poets (2005) Camouflage (2006)Crossroads(2008) Pyramids (2008),Fireflies(2009), Agogo 2009) and in several other newspapers, reviews, journals and magazines. His first published poetic volume Mairogo: a Buffoon’s Poetic Journey around Northern Nigeria (2001) received honourable mention for the prestigious ANA/CADBURY 2001 Poetry Prize. Denja Abdullahi  published two poetry volumes in 2008, The Talking Drum (February, 2008) and Abuja Nunyi (This is Abuja)(May,2008).His other published works are  A Thousand Years of Thirst( 2011), Hajj Poems(2014) and Death and the King’s Grey Hairand other Plays(2014).He also co-edited the book Themes Fall Apart But The Centre Holds, published in 2009 in commemoration of the 50 years Anniversary of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, which was celebrated worldwide in 2008. Denja Abdullahi has held several Executive Council positions in the Association of Nigerian Authors(ANA).He was the founding Chairman of the Kebbi State chapter of ANA from 1993-1998 when he was lecturing at the Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnic, Birnin-Kebbi; held several positions at the Abuja Branch at various times since 1998; and was Ex-officio at the National level(2001-2003),Assistant General Secretary(2003-2005) General Secretary( 2005-2009)  Vice President (2011 to date).As General Secretary of ANA, Denja Abdullahi helped to organize literary activities of all kinds in Nigeria amongst which were the 20 Years of The Nobel Prize International Colloquium held in honour of Wole Soyinka in 2006  ,The 50 Years of Things Fall Apart Celebratory Activities Across Nigeria in 2008 , The Abubakar Imam and Adebayo Faleti International Colloquia on Promoting Writing in the Indigenous Languagesheld in Kaduna, July 2009 and in Ibadan, August 2009 respectively. Denja Abdullahi, apart from teaching and other public service vocations, has also practised active journalism with The News/A.M News/Tempo group in the mid-90s. Denja Abdullahi, a playwright and theatre director, transferred his service in 1998 to the National Council for Arts and Culture, Abuja- Nigeria where he presently works as a Director. Denja Abdullahi has attended international literary festivals and residencies in Ghana, Senegal and South Korea. He is a UNESCO certified expert and facilitator on Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.