Pius Adesanmi

Pius Adesanmi passes on in Ethiopian Airways crash.

Nigerian writer and academic Pius Adesanmi passed away on the Ethiopian Airways flight 302 crash on March 10, 2019.

Pius Adesanmi was a Nigerian professor, writer, literary critic, poet, satirist, and columnist. His first book, the poetry collection The Wayfarer and Other Poems (2001), won the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Poetry Prize. His second book, the collection of essays You’re not a Country, Africa (2011), received the inaugural Penguin Prize for African Writing in the nonfiction category. Naija No Dey Carry Last (2015) was his final book. He also gave the following TED talk.


It had been a horrible few months for Adesanmi who was in a car accident in June 2018 before dying in the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed shortly after take-off on Sunday March 10. In his last Facebook post, he shared, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me – Psalm 139:9-10

There has been an outpouring of emotion for the passing of the Ottawa based Adesanmi with those in the academic and writing community writing tributes starting with his university.

Chuma Nwokolo

An Epitaph for Pius Adesanmi

On 10th March, 2019, Ethiopian flight ET 302 made an unscheduled stop on its way from Addis to Nairobi and the ancestors rose to receive my old friend, Pius Adesanmi. In the announcement that broke the news, his home university at Carleton identified him as a Canadian. Indeed Professor Pius Adesanmi was not one of those citizens whose host country could hold at arm’s length with a hyphenated nationality or an exculpatory reference to his birth country.

Payo was one of our best. A first class graduate of the University of Ilorin, he took an MA from the University of Ibadan and a PhD in French Studies from the University of British Columbia. He was an assistant professor of Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University and winner of the inaugural Penguin Prize for African Writing for his book, You are Not a Country, Africa. At the time of his death he was Professor of English and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton.

Full tribute can be accessed here.







3 responses to “Pius Adesanmi passes on in Ethiopian Airways crash.”

  1. […] The 2019 edition rolled into Berlin with book discussions, film screenings, poetry performances, and much more happening in venues across the European city. It was dedicated to Pius Adesanmi who passed away earlier this year. […]

  2. […] Ahmad Nassir Juma Bhalo, Zimbabwe author and poet Charles Mungoshi, Nigerian writer and academic Pius Adesanmi, Cote D’Ivoire novelist, playwright, and poet Bernard Dadié, Libyan novelist Ahmed Fagih, […]

  3. […] Adesanmi, was a Nigerian-born, Canada-based scholar who passed away tragically in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash on March 10, 2019. In his honour, the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) established the Pius Adesanmi […]

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