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This anthology marks the 55th anniversary of the historic 1962 Makerere Conference of African Literature in Uganda bringing together post-independence African writers many of whom would go on to play major roles in defining Africa’s literary history.
One of them wrote; “we were amazed that fate had entrusted us with the task of interpreting a continent to the world.”
Those who gathered included the Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, JP Clark, Kofi Awoonor, Frances Ademola, Cameron Doudu, Lewis Nkosi, Dennis Brutus, Ezekiel Mphahlele, Bloke Modisane, the African American writer Langton Hughes et al. Fifty-five years on, many have joined the ancestors but there are a few survivors who attended the launch of this Anthology at SOAS in London on 28th October 2017.
Africa has produced some of the best writing of the twentieth century from Chinua Achebe, Ayi Kwei Armah, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and the Nobel Laureates Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, J.M. Coetzee and Doris Lessing, to more recent talents like Nuruddin Farah, Ben Okri, Aminatta Forna and Brian Chikwava. Who will be the next generation? Following the successful launch of Bogota39, which identified many of the most interesting upcoming Latin American talents, including Daniel Alarcon, Junot Diaz (Pulitzer Prize), Santiago Roncagliolo (Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) and Juan Gabriel Vasquez (short-listed for the IFFP), and Beirut39 which published Randa Jarrar, Rabee Jaber, Joumana Haddad, Abdellah Taia and Samar Yazbek, Africa39 will bring to worldwide attention the best work from Africa and its diaspora. From the dazzling list of 39 writers chosen by the judges, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey has selected richly rewarding short stories, extracts from novels, fables and other work by writers from Africa south of the Sahara, or its diaspora, and created a collection of some of the most varied and exciting new work in world literature today. Africa39 is a Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club project which aims to select and celebrate 39 of the best young African writers from south of the Sahara. It will be launched at the PH Book Festival in UNESCO's World Book Capital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in October 2014. The three judges are: Margaret Busby, Elechi Amadi, Osonye Tess Onwueme
A member of the unique generation of African writers and intellectuals who came of age in the last days of colonialism, Wole Soyinka has witnessed the promise of independence and lived through postcolonial failure. He deeply comprehends the pressing problems of Africa, and, an irrepressible essayist and a staunch critic of the oppressive boot, he unhesitatingly speaks out. In this magnificent new work, Soyinka offers a wide-ranging inquiry into Africa's culture, religion, history, imagination, and identity. He seeks to understand how the continent's history is entwined with the histories of others, while exploring Africa's truest assets: "its humanity, the quality and valuation of its own existence, and modes of managing its environment-both physical and intangible (which includes the spiritual)." Fully grasping the extent of Africa's most challenging issues, Soyinka nevertheless refuses defeatism. With eloquence he analyzes problems ranging from the meaning of the past to the threat of theocracy. He asks hard questions about racial attitudes, inter-ethnic and religious violence, the viability of nations whose boundaries were laid out by outsiders, African identity on the continent and among displaced Africans, and more. Soyinka's exploration of Africa relocates the continent in the reader's imagination and maps a course toward an African future of peace and affirmation.
This is one of the best-known plays by Africa's major dramatist, Wole Soyinka.
It is set in the Yoruba village of Ilunjinle. The main characters are Sidi (the Jewel), 'a true village belle' and Baroka (the Lion), the crafty and powerful Bale of the village, Lakunle, the young teacher, influenced by western ways, and Sadiku, the eldest of Baroka's wives. How the Lion hunts the Jewel is the theme of this ribald comedy.
A Nobel Prize-winning playwright's classic tale of tragic decisions in a traditional African culture.
This classic novel tells the phantasmagorical story of an alcoholic man and his search for his dead palm-wine tapster. As he travels through the land of the dead, he encounters a host of supernatural and often terrifying beings - among them the complete gentleman who returns his body parts to their owners and the insatiable hungry-creature. Mixing Yoruba folktales with what T. S. Eliot described as a 'creepy crawly imagination', The Palm-Wine Drinkard is regarded as the seminal work of African literature. 'Brief, thronged, grisly and bewitching.' Dylan Thomas, Observer 'Tutuola's art conceals - or rather clothes - his purpose, as all good art must do.' Chinua Achebe
Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. In this volume the five plays are all concerned with the spiritual and the social; with belief and ritual as integrating forces for social cohesion. Whether considering the corruption of urban life or the power of superstition, Soyinka's language and imagination transcend the plays' immediate social contexts.
Contains: A Dance of the Forests; The Swamp Dwellers; The Strong Breed; The Road; The Bacchae of Euripides.
"Backgrounds and Sources" helps readers understand Death and the King's Horseman's traditional African contexts and the role of theater in African culture. Included are a map of Yoruba-land, discussions of Yoruban religious beliefs and cultural traditions, Soyinka on the various forms that theater has taken in African culture in order to survive, and Anthony Appiah on Soyinka's struggle with the problem of African identity in the creation of Death and the King's Horseman. Commentary on the play as both a theatrical production and a classroom text is provided by Gerald Moore, Tanure Ojaide, and Martin Rohmer. "Criticism" collects nine major essays on the play and the difficulties it presents to readers. Contributors include D. S. Izevbaye, Eldred Durosimi Jones, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Biodun Jeyifo, Wole Soyinka, Joan Hepburn, Adebayo Williams, David Richards, and Olakunle George. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.
Wole Soyinka has translated in both language and spirit a great classic of ancient Greek theater. He does so with a poet's ear for the cadences and rhythms of chorus and solo verse as well as a commanding dramatic use of the central social and religious myth. In his hands The Bacchae becomes a communal feast, a tumultuous celebration of life, and a robust ritual of the human and social psyche. "The Bacchae is the rites of an extravagant banquet, a monstrous feast," Soyinka writes. "Man reaffirms his indebtedness to earth, dedicates himself to the demands of continuity, and invokes the energies of productivity. Reabsorbed within the communal psyche he provokes the resources of nature; in turn he is replenished for the cyclic rain in his fragile individual potency." The blending of two master playwrights Euripides and Soyinka makes for an unforgettable experience."
From the first African Nobel Laureate, this is the first in a series of Olufosoye Annual Lectures on Religions, delivered at the University of Ibadan in 1991. Soyinka, in his characteristically stimulating way, discusses the religions of Nigeria in their national context, and other religions from around the world. The author says "At one conceptual level or the other...deeply embedded as an article of faith, is a relegation of this material world to a mere staging-post...then universal negation...Existence, as we know it, comes to the end that was pre-ordained from the beginning of time. Indeed, time itself comes to anend."
Theater, in a variety of forms and contexts, can make, and indeed has made, positive political and social interventions in a range of developing cultures around the world. In this book a distinguished team of theater historians and dramatists explore how theater has a dynamic and often difficult relationship with societies and states, arguing positively that theatrical activity can make a difference. The collection begins with a foreword by Wole Soyinka and, throughout the volume, specially chosen plays, projects and movements are examined in countries such as Brazil and Argentina, Nigeria, Eritrea and South Africa, India and the Caribbean.
When Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka's The Open Sore of a Continent appeared in 1996, it received rave reviews in the national media. Now comes Soyinka's powerful sequel to that fearless and passionate book, The Burden of Memory.
Where Open Sore offered a critique of African nationhood and a searing indictment of the Nigerian military regime, The Burden of Memory considers all of Africa -- indeed, all the world -- as it poses the next logical question: Once repression stops, is reconciliation between oppressor and victim possible? This book speaks not only to those concerned specifically with African politics, but also to anyone seeking the path to social justice through some of history's most inhospitable terrain.
Theatre, in a variety of forms and contexts, can make, and indeed has made, positive political and social interventions in a range of developing cultures across the world. In this book a distinguished team of theatre historians and dramatists explores how theatre has a dynamic and often difficult relationship with societies and states, arguing positively that theatrical activity can make a difference. The collection begins with a foreword by Wole Soyinka and, through the volume, specially chosen plays, projects and movements are examined, embracing a variety of theatrical forms from conventional text to on-site developmental work. The communities addressed range from the national to the local, from middle-class elites to the economically dispossessed in countries such as Brazil and Argentina, Nigeria, Eritrea and South Africa, and India and the Caribbean countries.
From the moment, on November 10, 1995, that the Nigerian military government executed dissident writer Ken Saro-Wiwa along with eight other activists, Nigeria became an outcast in the global village. The events that led up to Saro-Wiwa's execution mark Nigeria's decline from a post-colonial success story to its current military dictatorship, and few writers have been more outspoken in decrying and lamenting this decline than Nobel Prize laureate and Nigerian exile Wole Soyinka. In The Open Sore of a Continent, Soyinka, whose own Nigerian passport was confiscated 1994, explores the history and future of Nigeria in a compelling jeremiad that is as intense as it is provocative, learned, and wide-ranging.
The ironic development and consequences of `progress' may be traced through both the themes and the tone of the works in this volume of Wole Soyinka's plays.
Contains: The Lion and the Jewel, Kongi's Harvest, The Trials of Brother Jero, Jero's Metamorphosis, Madmen and Specialists.
The ways in which the African world perceives itself as a cultural whole that interconnects myth, ritual and literature and the differences between its essential unity and the sense of division pervading Western literature are emphasized in this classic analysis.
This remarkable novel is not only an imaginative work of the very highest order but a cross-cultural tour de force of extraordinary daring and vision. It begins in Tokyo in 1941, when Teddy Maki and Jimmy Yamamoto, two young Japanese-American jazz musicians, are stranded in Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, drafted into the Japanese army and sent to the Philippines, the scene of bloody conflict with guerrillas and American troops. Rather than act as true soldiers, the two young men attempt to disengage themselves from the savagery of a war in which they are unable to choose sides. But such innocence is impossible to maintain. Thirty years later, Teddy Maki, by then a star of Japanese television, is still haunted by Jimmy's death and his own failure to disobey the order of his commanding officer to shoot an American prisoner. The guilt that poisons his relationship with his wife and son and with the country in which he has chosen to live as a perpetual outsider speaks to the moral issues raised by all wars--from Auschwitz to My Lai.
This is the first formal publication of two early plays by Soyinka, The Invention (1959) and The Detainee (1965). Widely regarded as Soyinka's first play, The Invention reflects the obsession with race that marked the apartheid regime, and prophetically depicts the beginnings of the crumbling of the apartheid system in the futuristic setting of Johannesburg in 1976. It expresses the concern of the African diapsora with apartheid, which was felt to be an affront to the entire race. The Detainee is a radioplay. The plot foreshadows the writer's own imprisonment and his now familiar concerns about the vagaries of African politics.
Elesin Oba, the King's Horseman, has a single destiny. When the King dies, he must commit ritual suicide and lead his King's favourite horse and dog through the passage to the world of the ancestors. A British Colonial Officer, Pilkings, intervenes to prevent the death and arrests Elesin. The play is a set text for NEAB GCSE, NEAB A Level and NEAB A/S Level. 'A masterpiece of 20th century drama' - Guardian "A transfixing work of modern world drama" (Independent); "clearly a masterpiece. . . he achieves the full impact of Greek tragedy" (Irving Wardle, Independent on Sunday); "the action of the play is as inevitable and eloquent as in Antigone: a clash of values and cultures so fundamental that tragedy issues: a tragedy for each individual, each tribe" (Michael Schmidt, Daily Telegraph)
In this new book developed from the prestigious Reith Lectures,
Nobel Prize--winning author Wole Soyinka, a courageous advocate for
human rights around the world, considers fear as the dominant theme
in world politics.
The first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, as well
as a political activist of prodigious energies, Wole Soyinka now
follows his modern classic Ake: The Years of Childhood with an
equally important chronicle of his turbulent life as an adult in
(and in exile from) his beloved, beleaguered homeland.
"From the Hardcover edition."
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