Nobel Prize-winning novelist Wole Soyinka to bring message of freedom

Wole Soyinka, Nigerian poet, novelist and critic and the first black African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1986), will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the African and African American Studies Program and Performing Arts Department, both in Arts & Sciences; the St. Louis Black Repertory Company; and Ron Himes, the Henry E. Hampton Jr. Artist-in-Residence.

“It is difficult to fully convey Wole Soyinka’s significance to art, humanity and the enduring struggle for equality,” said John Baugh, Ph.D., the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor and director of African and African American studies. “His work is vivid, frequently humorous and often portrays tragic depictions of the stark realities his life has known.

“Our own Ron Himes has made this visit possible, and it will be wonderful to hear Soyinka’s message of freedom just a short distance from the Federal Court House where America’s struggle for racial equality was fought through the Dred Scott trial.”

Soyinka has been imprisoned several times for his criticism of the government. Since the 1970s he has lived long periods in exile.

Soyinka’s plays range from comedy to tragedy, and from political satire to the theatre of the absurd. He has combined influences from Western traditions with African myth, legends and folklore and such techniques as singing and drumming.

Soyinka is currently the President’s Marymount Institute Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University.

For more information, call 935-5631 or 534-3807.