Peter Nazareth was born in Uganda of Goan ancestry, and his mother's family was earlier based in Malaya-Malaysia-Singapore. He was educated at Makerere University (Kampala, Uganda), where he received his BA in English Literature in 1962, and at the universities of London and Leeds in England.
While residing in Africa, he simultaneously served as senior finance officer in Idi Amin's finance ministry until 1973, when he accepted a fellowship at Yale University (United States) and emigrated from Uganda.
He is a professor of English and African-American World Studies at the University of Iowa (United States), where he is also a consultant to the International Writing Program. Nazareth taught that university's course "Elvis as Anthology," which explores the deep mythological roots of Elvis Presley's roles in popular culture. This class on Elvis led to Nazareth being interviewed by a range of publications -- The Wall Street Journal, UPI, AP, World News Tonight With Peter Jennings, NBC's The Today Show, ABC Chicago, MTV, The Voice of America, National Public Radio, The BBC, and the Cedar Rapids Gazette, among others, according to his cv.
He teaches and has written about African, Caribbean, African-American, Goan, and other literatures. His publications include In the Trickster Tradition: The Novels of Andrew Salkey, Francis Ebejer, and Ishmael Reed (1994); Edwin Thumboo: Creating a Nation Through Poetry (2008); and the long essay Elvis as Anthology in Vernon Chadwick, ed., In Search of Elvis: Music, Race, Art, Religion. He edited Critical Essays on Ngugi wa Thiong’o (2000) and Pivoting on the Point of Return: Modern Goan Literature (2010). His first novel, In a Brown Mantle, has been taught at the University of Pretoria and by Ngugi wa Thiong’o at U.C. Irvine.
His literary criticisms have often involved observations of the fate of diverse global economic and academic migrants, spanning the Asian, African and black American cultural histories. This includes the Goan diaspora settled in Western countries, the post-Idi Amin Asian emigration from Eastern Africa, and the cultural superstitions of the pre-Obama presidency of American politics. He has edited a special issue of the journal Callaloo on Goan literature, and an anthology of its literature, and has championed the work of Mozambique-born Goan writer Violet Dias Lannoy.
He has been married to Mary Nazareth for more than 50 years. They have two daughters.
- In a Brown Mantle, East African Literature Bureau, 1972; Nairobi: Kenya Literature Bureau, 1981.
- Literature and Society in Modern Africa, East African Literature Bureau, 1972; Kenya Literature Bureau, 1980; published as An African View of Literature, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974.
- Two Radio Plays, East African Literature Bureau, 1976.
- The Third World Writer: His Social Responsibility, Nairobi: Kenya Literature Bureau, 1978.
- Literature of the African Peoples, Study Guide for Independent Study with audiotape/CD, Center for Credit Programs, The University of Iowa, 1983.
- A Feny Fele, Budapest: Europa Publishing House, 1984 (selected essays in Hungarian translation)
- The General is Up, Toronto: TSAR Books, 1991
- In the Trickster Tradition: The Novels of Andrew Salkey, Francis Ebejer and Ishmael Reed, London: Bogle-L'Ouverture Press, 1994.
- Edwin Thumboo: Creating a Nation Through Poetry, Singapore: Interlogue Series Vol. 7, Ethos Books, 2008.
- African Writing Today, special issue of Pacific Quarterly Moana, Hamilton, New Zealand: Outrigger Publishers, Vol. 6, No. 3/4, 1981.
- Goan Literature: A Modern Reader, issue of the Journal of South Asian Literature, East Lansing: Michigan State University, 1983.
- Critical Essays on Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, New York: G.K. Hall, 2000
- Uganda South Asians Exodus: Kololian Perspectives (co-edited), University of Toronto, 2002.
- Simawe, Saadi A. "Creating a Nation: Peter Nazareth as Literary Critic"[permanent dead link], Asiatic 3.1 (2009): 1. Accessed 13 December 2010.
- "Peter Nazareth", The Writing University.
- Megan Carney, "Peter Nazareth, Ugandan Born UI Professor Enlivens Classes with His Multi-cultural Heritage" Archived 8 January 2017 at the Wayback Machine, The Iowa Source, 8 February 2008.
- thelibrarychannel (19 June 2017), One of a Kind: Peter Nazareth, retrieved 22 June 2018
- Nazareth, Peter (22 June 2018). "CV" (PDF). https://english.uiowa.edu/sites/english.uiowa.edu/files/field/cv/Nazareth%20CV%202015%20website.pdf. Retrieved 22 June 2018. External link in
- "Peter Nazareth | Department of English | College of Liberal Arts & Sciences | The University of Iowa". english.uiowa.edu. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
- Nazareth, Peter (1983). "Introduction [to a special issue on Goan literature]". Journal of South Asian Literature. 18 (1): 1–6..
- "Peter Nazareth of the University of Iowa on Singapore literature". Goa 1556. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
- "Elvis: Rewriting the World thru Multicultural Movies - Goa 1556". Goa 1556. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
- Megan Carney, "Peter Nazareth, Ugandan Born UI Professor Enlivens Classes with His Multi-cultural Heritage", The Iowa Source, 8 February 2008.
- One of a Kind: Peter Nazareth
- Books by Peter Nazareth
- Peter Nazareth, Ugandan and UI Professor, Feb08 | Ugandan Born UI Professor Enlivens Classes with His Multi-cultural Heritage
- Peter Nazareth, University of Iowa