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Nobel Prize Winner to Visit Loyola Campus

Loyola press release - October 27, 2003

Playwright, poet, novelist, essayist and social commentator Wole Soyinka will visit the Loyola campus in conjunction with the production of his play, Camwood On The Leaves. He will deliver a symposium entitled “Yoruba Myths and the Humanization of the Gods” at 8:30 p.m. on November 5, following a performance of the play in the Lower Depths Theater, St. Charles at Calhoun.

Mr. Soyinka was born in 1934 in Abeokuta, Nigeria to well-educated parents. His father was headmaster of St. Peter’s Primary School, and his mother was a shopkeeper and respected political figure in the community. He began writing at an early age, composing stories and sketches for school and Nigerian radio. He wrote Camwood On The Leaves as a radio play when he was 19 years old.

In 1954, Soyinka moved to England where he studied English literature at the University of Leeds, receiving a B.A. in 1959. He returned to Nigeria in 1960, where he began to establish his reputation as a gifted and prolific writer and social historian. His plays range from comedy to tragedy, and from political satire to theatre of the absurd. He has combined influences from Western traditions with African myths, legends and folklore and such techniques as singing and drumming.

Although Soyinka was the first black African to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1986), he has been imprisoned several times for his criticism of Nigerian government policies. He remains outspoken to this day, and is considered the premier African man of letters.

For more information on Wole Soyinka’s visit or the performances of Camwood On The Leaves, call 865-3824.