Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Saturday, October 12, 2002
548 West 22nd Street, NYC, 4:00pm

Wole Soyinka


Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, Wole Soyinka has published more than thirty works, and continues to be active on various international artistic and Human Rights organizations such as the International Theatre Institute, the UN Commission on Human Rights and the International Parliament of Writers of which he was the immediate past President. A Yoruba born in Western Nigeria and educated in Ibadan, Wole Soyinka continued his studies at the University of Leeds, England, earning an Honours degree in English, then joined the Royal Court Theatre, London, as a play-reader. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller grant and returned to Nigeria, where he researched theatre, and founded a theatre company. His first plays, The Swamp Dwellers and The Lion and the Jewel, were written in London, performed at Ibadan in 1958 and 1959, and published in 1963. Since then, his works for theater have included The Trials of Brother Jero, Jero's Metamorphosis, A Dance of the Forests, Kongi's Harvest, Madmen and Specialists, The Strong Breed, The Road, Death and the King's Horseman, A Play of Giants, and Requiem for a Futurologist. He has adapted The Bacchae for the British National Theatre where it was performed under the title The Bacchae of Euripides, and Opera Wonyosi from John Gay's The Beggar's Opera and Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, set in an African context. Soyinka has written two novels, The Interpreters and Season of Anomy. Autobiographical works include The Man Died: Prison Notes and Aké: The Years of Childhood Literary essays are collected in, among others, Myth, Literature and the African World,and Art, Dialogue and Outrage while his political and other thematic writings are contained in The Open Sore of a Continent and The Burden of Memory, Muse of Forgiveness. His poems are collected in Idanre and Other Poems, Poems from Prison, A Shuttle in the Crypt, and Ogun Abibiman, Mandela's Earth and Other Poems. Wole Soyinka has held numerous university positions, and is currently Woodruff Professor of the Arts at Emory University, Atlanta and Director of Literary Arts at the International Institute of Modern Letters, University of Nevada.