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Laureate Tsegaye Gebremedhin

Laureate Tsegaye Gebremedhin

Tsegaye Gebre Medhin was one of Africa's leading poets, playwrights and intellectuals who wrote an extensive list of original literature and translated some of Shakespeare's greatest works from English to Amharic.


He is most known for his own distinctive style of poetry and some of his poem books have been used in high schools in Ethiopia as textbooks.

In 1959, Tsegaye was awarded a UNESCO scholarship to study theatre arts in Europe. He studied at the Royal Court Theatre in London, at the Comedie Francaise in Paris, and at the Opera Theatre in Rome. He translated Shakespeare's Othello, which was first staged in Ethiopia in 1963 and later published by Oxford University Press.


Among the most popular of his translation works, which have also been shown on the stage are Macbeth and Hamlet. He also wrote several books in English and his first English book, The Oda Oak, was published in 1965. This book was staged at universities in several African countries and was translated into French, Italian, Danish and Romanian.


Through his writings and plays, Tsegaye made Ethiopians aware of their history, the inspiring stories of Ethiopia 's past political and religious leaders and their actions of unparalleled heroism. He also brought to Ethiopians, the best in literature of the outside world from the works of Shakespeare to Moliere. And most of all, he gave generations of Ethiopians his own distinctive style of verse and other forms of literature that many other Ethiopian poets after him have come to adapt. Laureate Tsegaye Gebre Medhin died in February 2006 at the age of 69.