Skip to main content

Auburn English graduate writes way from Africa to Auburn, finds family on the Plains


Prophet Dauda '24 was raised on stories. From the fireside in a small village in Malawi to the Loveliest Village on the Plains, the Auburn University creative writing graduate proves how one person’s story can inspire, entertain and take you across the world.

"I'm passionate about writing. I grew up in the village, and there, storytelling is just part of us. I grew up by the fire, through oral traditions," Dauda said. "Writing is a powerful vessel with which we can tell our stories, to bring to life that remote story that the world hasn't heard or seen yet."

Dauda's mother passed away when he was very young, and he grew up in an orphanage founded by American missionaries. The Passion Center for Children is a Christian organization that provides shelter, education and health care for children in Malawi.

With support from a Passion Center scholarship, Dauda earned a bachelor's degree in literature. Despite being born into an area where generational poverty prevented many of his peers from higher education, Dauda worked hard and always kept writing.

In 2017, he wrote "Prophet’s Tale," a memoir about his childhood. Dauda hopes it inspires people in difficult situations to keep going and encourages others to help those in need.

"I wanted to tell my story so that I can inspire fellow orphans, but also I wanted to show the people who invested in me the best that they can bring out," Dauda said. "There were people sending resources to Africa and I wanted to become a testimony to say, 'Your efforts are not in vain. If you can help, if you get involved, this is the fruit.' But at the end of the day, I want just to inspire people to believe in themselves, that anything they want in life, they can become."

Dauda first learned of Auburn in "Poets & Writers" magazine. He was drawn to the Department of English’s creative writing program for its resources and supportive culture. Dauda said the classes are craft-oriented and the faculty are "like a family" to him.

Auburn also connected him to established writers through its visiting scholars program and allowed him to hone his public speaking skills at the Third Thursday Poetry Series, which features live readings from authors and students.

Dauda said the rich, multicultural literary community at Auburn welcomed him with open arms.

"I have never been in an environment where the whole world is in one place. You can have a friend from Asia, a friend from other parts of Africa, friends from South America, so that itself is very enriching to me. I don't get that access to the world where I'm from," Dauda said. "I've just been proud to be part of the family, to look back and see how Auburn shaped my career development, but also how Auburn opened my new opportunities in life. I think the professors, the friends that I've met here in Auburn will be there for a lifetime."

In the fall, Dauda will enroll in the University of Notre Dame's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. He said two years at Auburn helped him prepare his stories to stand out for a competitive MFA program, as well as establish himself as an active literary citizen.

During this next chapter of his life, Dauda looks forward to working on a novel and transforming lives through the power of story.

"As humans, naturally we're ingrained to tell stories that are interesting that can keep us together as a society, but also that can transform at the same time, entertain," Dauda said. "I was trying to find my own identity, meeting people from all over the world and trying to fit in a new environment. Those are the stories that I can tell. What if a kid in Africa never had a chance to meet people from different parts of the world as I have done here in Auburn? I can tell a story about that just for others to appreciate."

Find more information about the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts.

Tags: English Alumni

Related Articles