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Wole Soyinka Nigeria    PWF 2006

Wole Soyinka

After working for the Royal Court Theater in London, he returned to Nigeria, where he founded “The 1960 Masks”, the group that performed his first major play, A Dance of the Forests. Though Soyinka writes in English, his work is deeply influenced by the myths and history of his homeland. Rather than eschewing modernist European techniques, he uses them as a forum for his exploration of ancient African tradition and legend, opening the way for “self-retrieval, cultural recollection, and cultural security”.

Soyinka was arrested for the first time in 1965 for allegedly seizing control of Western Radio studios and making an illegal broadcast challenging the official results of the recent elections. He was aquitted, but re-arrested in 1967 for his oppositionist writings. He was imprisoned for 22 months, much of it spent in solitary confinement.

“I annointed my flesh / Thought is hallowed in the lean / Oil of solitude / I call you forth, all, upon /Terraces of light. Let the dark / Withdraw.”

Soyinka is not limited by genre. He is the author of over twenty books, including The Interpreters and Season of Anomy, books of poetry such as AShuttle in the Crypt, Idanre, Mandela’s Earth, and Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known, the collection of essays entitled Art, Dialogue, and Outrage, and autobiographical works such as Aké: The Years of Childhood.

He was awarded the Nobel prize (1986) because he is a writer "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence"

Wole Soyinka currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Wole Soyinka

Speech at the Nobel Banquet

01.10.2008 Readings

December 10, 1986

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Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka: Nobel Lecture

01.10.2008 Readings

This Past Must Address Its Present

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Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka: Running to Stand Still

01.10.2008 Interviews

“I am a glutton for tranquility,” says Wole Soyinka. The 72-year-old Nigerian writer claims he would like nothing more than to retreat to his childhood home and spend his days in seclusion.

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Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka: Transforming Myth

29.01.2008 Readings

Wole Soyinka is among contemporary Africa's greatest writers. He is also one of the continent's most imaginative advocates of native culture and of the humane social order it embodies. Born in Western Nigeria in 1934, Soyinka grew up in an Anglican mission compound in Aké. A precocious student, he first attended the parsonage's primary school, where his father was headmaster, and then a nearby grammar school in Abeokuta, where an uncle was principal. Though raised in a colonial, English-speaking environment, Soyinka's ethnic heritage was Yoruba, and his parents balanced Christian training with regular visits to the father's ancestral home in `Isarà, a small Yoruba community secure in its traditions.

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Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka: Exile's Return

29.01.2008 Articles

"You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir" by Wole Soyinka

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Wole Soyinka

The Children of This Land

24.01.2008 Readings

Wole Soyinka

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