|Alma mater||Makerere University King's College Budo|
|Notable works||Black Aesthetics: Papers from a Colloquium Held at the University of Nairobi, June, 1971|
Pio Zirimu (died 1977) was a Ugandan linguist, scholar and literary theorist. He is credited with coining the word "orature" as an alternative to the self-contadictory term, "oral literature used to refer to the non-written expressive African traditions. Zirimu was also central in reforming the literature syllabus at Makerere University to focus on African literature and culture instead of the English canon.
Early life and education
Zirumu was born in Buganda. He attended high school at King's College Budo, and subsequently went to Makerere University college, and the University of Leeds, where he was a contemporary of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o. While at Makerere, Zirimu met Ugandan poet and dramatist Elvania Namukwaya Zirimu. They were to marry a few years later. The marriage produced a daughter.
Zirimu later taught at the Institute of Languages Studies at Makerere University, where he was involved in the formulation of standards for judging emergent African literature in the 1960s. He was at the African Writers Conference held at Makerere on 1 June 1962 — officially called a "Conference of African Writers of English Expression", which was the first major international gathering of writers and critics of African literature on the African continent. It was also attended by many prominent African writers, including Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, John Pepper Clark, Ezekiel Mphahlele, Bloke Modisane, Lewis Nkosi, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (then known as James Ngugi), Ezekiel Mphahlele, Robert Serumaga, Rajat Neogy (founder of Transition Magazine), Okot p'Bitek and David Rubadiri.
- "An approach to Black Aesthetics", in Pio Zirimu and Andrew Gurr, eds. (1973). Black Aesthetics: Papers from a Colloquium Held at the University of Nairobi, June, 1971. East African Literature Bureau. ISBN 978-0860702573.
- "Oracy as a tool of development", in Pio Zirimu and Andrew Gurr, eds. (1973). Black Aesthetics: Papers from a Colloquium Held at the University of Nairobi, June, 1971. East African Literature Bureau. ISBN 978-0860702573. with Austin Bukenya
- "Notes towards a Performance Theory of Orature", ohio.edu, 3 September 2007. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- Simon Gikwandi, Evan Mwangi (2013). The Columbia Guide to East African Literature in English Since 1945, p. 177. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0231125208.
- Frederick Philander, "Namibian Literature at the Cross Roads", New Era, 18 April 2008.
- Announcement of conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the June 1962, Humanities & Social Sciences Online.
- "The First Makerere African Writers Conference 1962", Makerere University.
- John Roger Kurtz, Urban Obsessions, Urban Fears: The Postcolonial Kenyan Novel, Africa World Press, 1998, pp. 15–16.