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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?

n

To what culture is your work most indebted?

yoruba

 

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

oyinka-only-when-im-railing-against-material-gluttons-liars-hypocrites-bigots-paedophiles-religious-fanatics-and-allied-zoo-inmates

 

What are you currently working on?

i-never-tell-even-when-it-is-nothing-1

 

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

my-laptop-these-days-my-ijegba-sanctuary-very-early-in-the-morning-those-hallowed-hours-before-the-world-wakes

 

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

forest

 

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

why-three-i-need-a-basic-four-my-laptop-a-record-player-both-solar-powered-a-barrel-of-wine-my-gun-cannot-picture-a-desert-island-without-wild-life

 

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?

p-clark-for-one-hell-keep-all-four-guests-aggravated-so-my-other-guest-seamus-heaney-and-i-will-sip-our-wine-whiskey-for-him-in-peace-and-poetry

 

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

baba-segi-from-the-secret-lives-of-baba-segis-wives-what-a-clan

 

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

guess-who

 

**********

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.

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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.

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