As promoted by New York University’s Institute of African Affairs (NYU-IAAA), their Fall 2016 Scholar-in-Residence is  Wole Soyinka, world-renown playwright, poet, and essayist.  And in celebration of this, the NYU-IAAA, with programs co-sponsored by the Tisch School of the Arts, are presenting a number of events in regard to Soyinka’s writing and scholarship.

NYU-IAAA Wole Soyinka Scholar-in-Residence programs are free and open to the public. Space is limited. Please RSVP at (212) 998-IAAA (4222)

If you are unfamiliar with this giant, the NYU-IAAA has provided this bio:

The Nobel Laureate for Literature 1986, Wole Soyinka has published more than thirty works, and remains active on various international artistic and Human Rights organizations. Born and educated in Nigeria, Wole Soyinka continued his studies at the University of Leeds, England, then joined the Royal Court Theatre, London as a play-reader. In 1960, he returned to Nigeria, where he founded two theatre companies – The 1960 Masks, and the Orisun Theatre. Soyinka writes in various genres – from the light comedy of cultures in The Lion and the Jewel, the JERO Plays etc., through King Baabu, a savagely satiric adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, to the dense poetic tragedy of Death and the King’s Horseman.

Soyinka has also written novels and autobiographical works. AKE: The Years of Childhood has been described as a “classic of childhood biography anywhere”, while his latest, You Must Set Forth at Dawn was acclaimed one of the best non-fiction works of 2006. Literary and thematic essay collections include his 2004 BBC Reith Lectures, Climate of Fear, and OF AFRICA (2013) while his last collection of poems appeared as SAMARKAND and Other Markets I Have Known. Wole Soyinka lectures extensively and has held several university positions. He is currently Professor Emeritus in Comparative Literature, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, Fellow of the Black Mountain Institute, University of Nevada, and a Hutchins Fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge.

MONDAY | OCTOBER 3rd, 2016 | 6:00 PM

Wole Soyinka Main Lecture:  “Negritude By Any Other Name”

As Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute of African American Affairs, New York University, Wole Soyinka will reflect on the themes of the world in Africa and Africa in the world, which would include, but not be limited to, the voices of African public intellectuals, at home and abroad, in assessing such issues as human rights, terrorism, religious absolutism, and the devastating consequences they are bringing on the world today. Also part of the discussion are the ways in which the global African South has been widely ignored by the West in its’ attempt to resolve such issues as current refugee crises, terrorism and corruption. Topics will explore the roles of public intellectuals in proposing creative and positive approaches to such world problems. From this perspective what roles do African voices and African arts play in the world today? How could African voices and arts help to change the way Africa is perceived in the world and how Africans perceive the injustices of the world visited upon them?

Wole Soyinka will be introduced by Awam Amkpa, NYU Professor, Drama, Tisch School of the Arts

LOCATION:  NYU Law School, Vanderbilt Hall Tishman Auditorium, 1st floor, 40 Washington Square South | New York, NY


TUESDAY | OCTOBER 4th, 2016 | 6:30 PM

Film screening: Negritude: A Dialogue Between Wole Soyinka and Senghor

Directed by Manthia Diawara (52 mins., France/USA/Germany/Portugal, 2015)

This imagined dialogue between Leopold Senghor, one of the founding fathers of Negritude, and Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, probes the relevance of the concept of Negritude, against the views of its many critics, not only to the decolonization and independence movements of the 1950s and 1960s, but also to an understanding of the contemporary artistic and political scenes of nationalism, religious intolerance, multiculturalism, the exodus of Africans and other populations from the South, and xenophobic immigration policies in the West.

After the film join Wole Soyinka, director Manthia Diawara and NYU history Professor Frederick Cooper for a brief discussion and Q&A.

LOCATION: NYU Law School, Vanderbilt Hall Tishman Auditorium 1st floor, 40 Washington Square South | New York, NY


FRIDAY | OCTOBER 7th , 2016 | 6:30 PM

Wole Soyinka In Conversation with Taiye Selasi

Wole Soyinka and author/photographer Taiye Selasi (“Ghana Must Go”) discuss identity and creativity at home and abroad. To what extent were the intellectuals of previous generations subjected to the ‘cult of authenticity’ that contemporary diasporic artists now face? Does gender play any role? Where does the African artist fit into the broader African and African diasporic contexts today?

LOCATION: NYU Law School, Vanderbilt Hall Tishman Auditorium, 1st floor, 40 Washington Square South | New York, NY



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About The Author

Curtis Caesar John is the Film Editor for Bold As Love Magazine. He also covers film and culture for Limité Magazine as well as for Shadow And Act, for which he created the regular feature ‘This Week in Black Television.’ He is born, raised and resides in Brooklyn, NY, of course. Follow him on Twitter at @MediaManCurt.

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