Frank Chipasula

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Frank Chipasula

Frank Mkalawile Chipasula (born 16 October 1949) is a Malawian writer, editor and university professor, "easily one of the best of the known writers in the discourse of Malawian letters".[1]


Born in Luanshya, Northern Rhodesia, Frank Chipasula attended St. Peter's Primary School on Likoma Island, Soche Hill Day Secondary School, Malosa Secondary School, Chancellor College, University of Malawi,[1] and, finally, the Great East Road Campus of the University of Zambia, Lusaka, where he graduated B.A., in exile, in 1976. Before leaving Malawi, Chipasula had worked as a freelance broadcaster for the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation while studying English and French at the university. In Lusaka, he served as English Editor for the National Education Company of Zambia, his first publishers, following his graduation from the University of Zambia.[2]

In 1978 Chipasula went into exile in the United States as a result of the Hastings Banda government, studying for his M.A. in Creative Writing at Brown University, a second M.A. in African American Studies at Yale University and gaining a Ph.D in English literature from Brown University in 1987.[3] Previously a professor of Black Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Howard University, Chipasula has also worked as the education attache at the Malawian embassy in Washington, D.C. His first book, Visions and Reflections (1972), is also the first published poetry volume in English by a Malawian writer. As well as poetry, which has been widely anthologised, he has written radio plays and fiction.[4]

Since January 10, 1976, Chipasula has been married to Stella, a former school teacher, whom he met in Mulanje, Malawi, in 1972. They have two grown children, James Masauko Mgeni Akuzike and Helen Chipo.


  • Honourable mention Noma Award, 1985
  • BBC Poetry Prize, 1989
  • In 2018, Frank Chipasula organized the Women's Poetry Festival in Malawi


  • Visions and Reflections, Lusaka: NEZCAM, 1972.
  • O Earth, Wait for Me, Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1984.
  • (ed.) When My Brothers Come Home: Poems from Central and Southern Africa, Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press; Scranton, Pa.: Distributed by Harper & Row, 1985.
  • Nightwatcher, Bightsong, Peterborough: P. Green, 1986.
  • Whispers in the Wings: Poems, Heinemann, 1991. African Writers Series.
  • A Decade in Poetry, Lusaka: Kenneth Kaunda Foundation, 1991.
  • (ed. with Stella Chipasula) The Heinemann Book of African Women's Poetry, Heinemann, 1995.
  • On the Shoulders of the Mountain: A Selection of Poems, 2007.
  • (ed.) Bending the Bow: An Anthology of African Love Poetry, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2009.


  1. ^ a b Osita Ezeliora (2008). "Chipasula, Frank Mkalawile (1949- )". In R. Victoria Arana (ed.). The Facts on File Companion to World Poetry: 1900 to the Present. Infobase Publishing. pp. 103–5. ISBN 978-1-4381-0837-7. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  2. ^ Jenny Stringer, ed. (1996). "Chipalula, Frank M(kalawile)". The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English. Oxford University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-19-212271-1. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  3. ^ Chipasula, Frank, "Epiphany blazing into the head: the quest for inner truth and transcendence in W.B. Yeats's verse drama", PhD dissertation, Brown University, 1987.
  4. ^ Adewale Maja-Pearce, ed. (1990). The Heinemann Book of African Poetry in English. Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-435-91323-6. Retrieved 2 August 2012.