To kick off our month-long publicity efforts for the 2016 Ake Arts and Books Festival, we are delighted to share this interview that appeared on Issue 12 of the Ake Review—the official journal of the Ake Arts and Books Festival. Soyinka is asked 10 questions ranging from what he would like to have if he found himself alone in a desert to questions about what might be written on his grave stone.

His answers open up a side to Soyinka that is sometimes elusive in his “serious” writings. He clearly had a lot of fun answering the questions. And we are delighted to share them with you.

For those of you who are still in the dark—not like you have any excuse to be—the 2016 Ake Art and Books Festival is set for November 15-19.  The event gathers the best of the best in African literature, film, and culture at a 4-day event in Soyinka’s hometown in Abeokuta.

Register here.


What piece, of all your writing, are you most proud?


To what culture is your work most indebted?



Do you feel any social/political responsibility when you write and why?



What are you currently working on?



What are your preferred tools, place, and time for writing?



Can you paint the picture that comes to mind when you think: home?



You’re going to be alone in the desert island for three months, what three things will you take with you?



You’ve given a +2 invitation card to a literary dinner by Toni Morrison, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, and J. M. Coetzee. Which two writers would you like to take along?



What character from an African novel would you most like to meet and why?



Many authors write their own epitaphs. Please complete: “Here lies…




Epitaph image is by Sheri via Flickr.

Divination board image is by Ashley Van Haeften via Flickr.

Idi Amin’s image is by Archives New Zealand via Flickr.

Seamus Heaney’s image is by Caroline via Flickr.

Forest image is by Faisal Akram via Flickr.

Tags: ,

I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Nnedi Okorafor’s Chicken in the Kitchen Wins Children’s Africana Book Award


On October 8th, Nnedi Okorafor attended a ceremony at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC  where […]

Adichie Has Some Thoughts About Michelle Obama as a Figure of Black Femininity


As Michelle Obama concludes her 8-year run as first lady, The New York Times Style Magazine assembles a group of […]

Welcome to London | by Lucky Edobor | An African Story


05:40 am. The immigration man’s backside is too flat, even for a skinny white man. It is hard to not […]

Opportunity for African Writers | Entries are Open for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize


Entries are officially opened for the Brunel University International African Poetry Prize. You can now enter your poems for a […]

Chibundu Onuzo’s Brand New Ultra-Chic Author Photos


A week ago, Chibundu Onuzo shared this photograph above on Instagram with the caption: “There comes a time in every […]

Imperialism-in-Artistry: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Win Is Proof Adichie Is Right about Beyonce | by Otosirieze Obi-Young


IN A RECENT INTERVIEW with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, ahead of the Dutch translation of her We Should All […]