Saturday, February 13, 2010

'I am a realist'

Nobel Laureate and Nigerian author Wole Soynika, in India recently for the Jaipur Literature Festival, chats about his writing and his activism. “There is a belief in the Yoruba tradition that a child must be rich in names whatever happens later on, so uncles, grandfathers and great grandfathers all give names so that the child is very wealthy and my names are..."

Wole Soyinka is solemnly speaking about his roots with a twinkle in his eyes and reeling off a string of names. “…and one or two others which I can't remember… in addition to our lineage. In the lineage song, which has the interpolation of all those names, you feel like a king.

A poet, playwright, myth-maker, essayist, memoirist, translator, Soyinka slips into each role with ease. “The subject generally dictates the form in which it falls naturally.” On the lives of ordinary human beings caught between opposing forces of creation and destruction that form the basis of his writing, Soyinka said, “I wouldn't think that my responses to the realities of existence and the entire history of humanity can be based on this statement. I'm passionate about the whole issue of human liberty, human freedom and that all human beings are born with a fundamental attribute of the spirit of choice, to formulate one's principles of existence and follow them, as long as they are not inimical to the right of others. I live in a continent, which is my immediate constituency and is confronted by a robbery of fundamental rights, then I use literature as my weapon with which I fight them."

Full report here Hindu

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