Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Credit for image of Wo̩lé S̩óyinká: unknown.

Fresh from celebrations for his 85th birthday days ago, Wo̩lé S̩óyinká has a new book coming. An expansion of his three-part Richard D. Cohen Lectures at Harvard in 2017—the first, “The Acquisitive Eye: ‘Oga, I Swear It’s Original Fake'”; the second, “Heirs to the Procreative Deities: The Yoruba at Large”; the third, “From Aso Ebi to N****YWOOD”—the new book, Beyond Aesthetics: Use, Abuse, and Dissonance in African Art Traditions, draws on his experience as a longtime art collector to explore identities, traditions, and originality in the making, collection, and exhibition of African art, widening into a reflection on aesthetics, cultural histories, and meaning.

The 144-page book will be published on 12 November 2019, by Yale University Press, in association with Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, with the hardcover edition set for release on 14 January 2020.

Here is a description by its publisher:

An intimate reflection on culture and tradition, creativity and power, that draws on a lifetime’s commitment to aesthetic encounter

The playwright, poet, essayist, novelist, and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka is also a longtime art collector. This book of essays offers a glimpse into the motivations of the collector, as well as a highly personal look at the politics of aesthetics and collecting. Detailing moments of first encounter with objects that drew him in and continue to affect him, Soyinka describes a world of mortals, muses, and deities that imbue the artworks with history and meaning.

Beyond Aesthetics is a passionate discussion of the role of identity, tradition, and originality in making, collecting, and exhibiting African art today. Soyinka considers objects that have stirred controversy, and he decries dogmatic efforts—whether colonial or religious—to suppress Africa’s artistic traditions. By turns poetic, provocative, and humorous, Soyinka affirms the power of collecting to reclaim tradition. He urges African artists, filmmakers, collectors, and curators to engage with their aesthetic and cultural histories.

FULL-LENGTH PUBLICATIONS

Our crosscheck with other online sources of S̩óyinká’s full-length works listed (incorrectly) on Wikipedia showed that he has published 49, including 27 plays (including radio- and TV-released), eight essay collections, seven poetry collections, four memoirs, two novels, and one fictional memoir.

Plays

  • The Invention (1957)
  • The Swamp Dwellers (1958)
  • The Lion and the Jewel (1959)
  • The Trials of Brother Jero (1963)
  • A Dance of the Forests (produced 1960, published 1963)
  • My Father’s Burden (TV play, 1960)
  • The Strong Breed (1964)
  • The Detainee (radio play, 1965)
  • Before the Blackout (1965)
  • Kongi’s Harvest (1965)
  • The Road (1965)
  • Madmen and Specialists (1970)
  • The Bacchae of Euripides (1973)
  • Camwood on the Leaves (1973)
  • Jero’s Metamorphosis (1973)
  • Death and the King’s Horseman (1975)
  • Opera Wonyosi (1977)
  • Requiem for a Futurologist (1983)
  • Sixty-Six (1984)
  • A Play of Giants (1984)
  • Childe Internationale (1987)
  • From Zia with Love and a Scourge of Hyacinths ((1992)
  • The Beatification of Area Boy (1995)
  • Document of Identity (radio play, 1999)
  • King Baabu (2001)
  • Etiki Revu Wetin (publication year unconfirmable)
  • Alapata Apata: A Play for Yorubafonia, Class for Xenophiles (2011)

Poetry collections

  • Idanre and Other Poems (1967)
  • Poems from Prison, republished as A Big Airplane Crashed into The Earth (1969)
  • A Shuttle in the Crypt (1972)
  • Ogun Abibiman (1976)
  • Mandela’s Earth and Other Poems (1988)
  • Early Poems (1998)
  • Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known (2002)

Memoirs

  • The Man Died: Prison Notes (1972)
  • Aké: The Years of Childhood (1981)
  • Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years: A Memoir 1946-65 (1994)
  • You Must Set Forth at Dawn (2006)

Novels

  • The Interpreters (1965)
  • Season of Anomy (1973)

Fictional Memoir

  • Isara: A Voyage Around Essay (1990)

Essay Collections

  • Art, Dialogue, and Outrage: Essays on Literature and Culture (1988)
  • Myth, Literature, and the African World (1976)
  • The Blackman and the Veil: Beyond the Berlin Wall (1993)
  • The Credo of Being and Nothingness (1991)
  • The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness (1998)
  • A Climate of Fear (2005)
  • New Imperialism (2010)
  • Of Africa (2012)

Beyond Aesthetics is his 50th full-length book or media publication. What a career.

Pre-order it on Yale’s website

Tags: ,

About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He sits on the judging panels of The Miles Morland Writing Scholarships and of The Gerald Kraak Prize. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. He is currently nominated for the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

The 2019 Brittle Paper Awards: Announcing The 5 Shortlists

BP shortlist

We are excited to announce The 5 Shortlists for the 2019 Brittle Paper Awards. Launched in 2017 to mark our seventh anniversary, the […]

“Read Salone, Build Salone”: The First Sierra Leone National Book Fair | 5-7 Dec.

SLNBF

Between December 5 to December 7, Freetown, Sierra Leone, will play host to the Sierra Leone National Book Fair—the first […]

Is There a Quota of 5 Books by African Authors for Every “Best 100 Books of 2019” List?

best of best of best of

As yet another year draws to a close, literary lists of various sorts are once again filling our newsfeeds. During […]

Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans Longlisted for the 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize

Lalami_Laila-1

Moroccan-American novelist Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans has recently been longlisted for the 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize. Described on the Aspen Prize’s […]

Apply for SBMEN’s Workshop “Literary Criticism: Judging Dynamic Creative Writing in All Forms”| 23 November

Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 8.57.48 PM

The Society for Book and Magazine Editors of Nigeria (SBMEN) is calling for applications to its fourth (and last) editing […]

They Say There are Over 50 Translations of Things Fall Apart. Here are 61.

Achebe Translation Cover

How many times have you heard or read that Things Fall Apart has been translated into over 50 languages? And yet, […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.