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Nobel Prize Winning Writer Wole Soyinka to Lecture Nov. 1

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October 31, 2006 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Wole Soyinka -- the first black African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature -- will deliver a lecture on literature at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1. The event will take place in Room 107 Harris Hall, 1881 Sheridan Road, on the Evanston campus. It is free and open to the public.

Soyinka, a Nigerian writer and political activist, is considered one of contemporary Africa's greatest writers. He will speak on “Othello's Dominion, Immigrant Domain” as part of Northwestern's ongoing “Othello Project” of free, public programming on Shakespeare's Othello.

Soyinka, who has been imprisoned several times for his criticism of the Nigerian government, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. His acceptance speech was dedicated to Nelson Mandela. Soyinka has spent much of his life since the 1970s in exile.

A novelist, poet and essayist, Soyinka draws on the beauty and difficult politics of his native country and combines Western traditions with African myth, legends and folklore. Much of his work openly challenges Nigerian authority. His 2001 play “King Baabu” parodies African dictators of the past and present.

Like many major Nigerian writers, Soyinka was educated at the University College of Ibada and overseas. He has taught literature in Nigeria, served as a professor of African Studies and theatre at Cornell University, worked in Nigerian theatre, served as lecturer at Cambridge University and, this year, published “You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir.”

For further information about Soyinka's Nov. 1 lecture, call the English department at (847) 491-7294.