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Monday November 29 2021, 6pm GMT

An Evening with Wole Soyinka

‘He is the best there is today, a poet and thinker who knows both how the world actually works and how the world should work.’ ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

It’s been almost fifty years since Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel laureate for literature, last published a novel. Chronicles From the Land of the Happiest People on Earth is, his fellow writers agree, worth the wait. 

The novel is many things: a satire, a whodunit mystery and an expansive assessment of the last 60 years of Nigerian history. It’s full of wordplay and remarkable characters and provides a window into contemporary Nigeria and beyond. 

Soyinka has long been one of the most inspiring and powerful of Nigeria’s political activists while at the same time laying the groundwork for the current generation of superb Nigerian writers. His return to the novel is a major event and on November 29 he comes to Intelligence Squared when he will discuss his extraordinary life and career. 


Praise for Wole Soyinka

‘You don’t see things the same when you encounter a voice like that’ – Toni Morrison

‘A giant of modern literature’ – Robert McFarlane 

‘One of the world’s greatest living writers’  – Benjamin Zephaniah

‘To have contained in the body of his work the fullness of individual vision, the potency of myth, the corruptions of power, and the misery of the oppressed, is a rare feat.’ ― Ben Okri

Event Name

An Evening with Wole Soyinka

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Speakers for the motion
  • Wole Soyinka

    Nigerian author, playwright, poet and political activist

  • Dr Louisa Egbunike

    Associate Professor in African Literature at Durham University

Speakers subject to change.

  • Online event
  • Monday 29 November 2021
  • 6pm to 7pm GMT


For the motion

Wole Soyinka

Nigerian author, playwright, poet and political activist

Nigerian author, playwright, poet and political activist. His prolific body of work includes his debut novel The Interpreters and his play Death and the King’s Horseman. Soyinka has been one of the greatest critics of the Nigerian government. Twice jailed, he wrote part of his memoir on toilet paper in solitary confinement. A staunch critic of corrupt, authoritarian regimes everywhere, Soyinka destroyed his Green Card when Trump was elected in 2016. He is Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature.

Dr Louisa Egbunike

Associate Professor in African Literature at Durham University

Associate Professor in African Literature at Durham University. She is currently working on a monograph which explores the role of the literary and visual arts in the cultural memory of the Nigeria-Biafra war. She produced and co-worte the documentary film In the Shadow of Biafra, which was launched in 2020 and features contributions from Chukwuemeka Ike, Nnedi Okorafor and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She features on radio programmes and creates content for BBC Radio 3, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Arts Online. She also contributed to the BBC Four documentary film on African literature, Africa Turns the Page, which was produced by David Olusoga. She is one of the co-founders and co-conveners of the annual international Igbo Conference in association with SOAS, which was inaugurated in 2012.

Speakers subject to change.