Taban lo Liyong is one of the liveliest figures on the African literary scene. His works are so unconventional in form and style that few critics know what to make of him or how to respond appropriately to the stimulation his writings provide. Some applaud, others condemn, but all admit that he is a highly original writer, with an extravagant style matching his extravagant personality.
Taban lo Liyong was born in the Southern Sudan and grew up in Acholiland, Northern Uganda as an Acholi. He obtained his BA in Literature at Howard University, USA, and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, USA, where he is a Fellow of the International Writers Workshop. He taught in Nairobi University before heading the English Department of the University of Papua and New Guinea. He returned to the Sudan to work in the University of Juba till 1993 when he again went to the Far East to Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, where he was an Imperial Research Professor on Numerals in African languages. In 1995 Taban lo Liyong was appointed to the English Department in the University of Venda where he currently holds the Professorship of English Literature and Professorship of African Studies. Apart from the above list of publications, in his first spurt of creativity he published twelve books, entitled Publications: Phase One. In 2001 Fountain Publishers published his translation into English of Okot p’Bitek’s Acholi poem, Wer pa Lawino (Defence of Lawino), and his latest collection, Poems from Perth, will be published later this year. Taban lo Liyong says that some critics write that he is controversial, "but with all the stupidity in Africa and the world these days, which intelligent man or woman would like to follow the herd or pseudo-leaders?" Professor lo Liyong considers himself his own man.