"My guiding principle as an adult has been to render my knowledge and skills in the service of the different communities I am part of, either as a member or an ally."
Ebenezer Agu is a poet, nonfiction writer, and literary critic earning an MFA in creative writing from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Originally from southeast Nigeria, Ebenezer has been passionate about literature since his teens. He is a 2022 Los Angeles Review of Books Publishing Fellow and a 2022 Gupta Values Scholar, awarded by the Rackham Graduate School and endowed by the Gupta Family Foundation. He was recently featured in Open Country Magazine’s special issue on the Next Generation of African literature. His mentor praises Ebenezer’s intellectual curiosity and says, “He is not only a wonderful poet, but he’s also a good citizen in the poetry world.”
In addition to creating art, Ebenezer is committed to working for social justice. In 2016, he co-founded 14, an arts collective that promotes stories by queer people in Nigeria and their allies. Between 2016 and 2018, Ebenezer edited the poetry of the anthologies published by 14. In 2017, he founded 20.35 Africa, an organization that promotes contemporary African poetics and poets. Today, 20.35 Africa is a registered not-for-profit organization in Nigeria and publishes an annual anthology of contemporary African poetry. Ebenezer also works to support community development by volunteering with AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub, a youth organization under the African Union and the European Union. He says, “My guiding principle as an adult has been to render my knowledge and skills in the service of the different communities I am part of, either as a member or an ally. I have always been inclined to find solutions to my challenges and then expand the solutions so that other people in my community will benefit from them.”
CEW+ commends Ebenezer’s creative vision and names him an Elsie Choy Lee Scholar.