Tess Onwueme, Ph.D.

Tess  Onwueme, Ph.D.
  • Professor
  • English
Office Locations

Tess Onwueme, originally from Ogwashu-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria, is currently one of Africa's leading writers, and has received international recognition for many of her plays. Her website, www.writertess.com, offers additional information on her speaking, academic, and creative career.

Before joining the faculty at UW-Eau Claire in 1994 as the institution's first Distinguished Professor of Cultural Diversity, she was a professor of Multicultural Studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and a professor of African Studies at Vassar College.

Among the prestigious awards she has received for her writing are: the Association of Nigerian Authors Literary Prize for Drama (in 1985 for The Desert Enroaches, 1995 for Tell it to Women, 2001 for Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen, and 2003 for Then She Said It), the (African) Distinguished Author Award (1988), and the Martin Luther King/Caesar Chavez/Rosa Parks Distinguished Writer/Scholar Award (1989/90). For two consecutive years (2000 and 2001), Tess has received substantial awards from the Ford Foundation for her research project, "Who Can Silence the Drums: Delta Women Speak" resulting in the writing and production of her play, THEN SHE SAID IT!.

Her play, The Missing Face, was performed Off-Broadway in New York from April 27 until May 28, 2001. Tess Onwueme's other creative writings include: What Mama Said, No Vacancy, Why the Elephant Has No Butt, Shakara: Dance Hall Queen, Tell it to Women, Riot in Heaven, Three Plays, Parables for a Season, Legacies, The Reign of Wazobia, Mirror for Campus, Ban Empty Barn, The Scent of Onions, The Desert Enroaches, The Broken Calabash, A Hen Too Soon, The Artist's Homecoming, and Some Day Soon.

Teaching Interests
  • African
  • Diasporan
  • Cultural
  • Postcolonial
  • Women's studies
  • Emphasis on the experience and conditions of rural women in the postcolonial, globalized Third Worlds
  • Ph.D., University of Benin, Nigeria (English - specializing in African Drama)
  • M.A., University of Ife, Nigeria (Literature)
  • B.A., University of Ife, Nigeria (Education English) - Honors *Received Faculty Prize for Overall Best Performance in the BA/BSC degree programs
  • W.A.S.C. (West African School Certificate/High School Diploma), Grade One/Distinction, Mary Mount College, Agbor, Bendel/Delta State, Nigeria