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Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laureate for Literature; International Best-Selling Author

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Wole Soyinka Biography

Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, poet, and essayist who has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first African to be honored in that category.

The life of Soyinka's is one of the rare, riveting biographies of our time. His life course has brought him from death's door as a political prisoner in solitary confinement to the hallowed halls of Harvard, Yale, and Leeds.

Soyinka seems fated to bridge elements in our world which are poles apart. His vision is described variously as, "inspirational, transcendent," and "demanding but rewarding." As a playwright, poet, and novelist Soyinka's vision comes to us through a stunning corpus.

During the six years spent at the University of Leeds in England earning his doctorate, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London 1958-1959. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama. At the same time, he taught drama and literature at various universities in Ibadan, Lagos, and Ife, where, since 1975, he has been professor of comparative literature.

In 1960, he founded the theatre group, “The 1960 Masks” and in 1964, the “Orisun Theatre Company”, in which he has produced his own plays and taken part as actor. He has periodically been visiting professor at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Yale.

During the civil war in Nigeria, Soyinka appealed in an article for cease-fire. For this he was arrested in 1967, accused of conspiring with the Biafra rebels, and was held as a political prisoner for 22 months until 1969.

Soyinka's passion for the written word is nowhere more poignantly revealed than by his actions during his political imprisonment. He was denied reading and writing materials, but he manufactured his own ink and began to keep a prison diary, written on toilet paper, cigarette packages and in between the lines of the few books he secretly obtained.

Each poem or fragment from the journal he managed to smuggle to the outside world became a literary event and a reassurance to his supporters that Soyinka still lived.

Soyinka, who has held positions at Yale, Cornell, Cambridge, and Harvard, is acknowledged as one of the great dramatic imaginations of the 20th Century.

Many critics consider Soyinka Africa's finest writer. His unique style blends traditional Yoruban Folk Drama with European dramatic form. His corpus itself is one of the premier chronicles of Africa's political turmoil and its struggle to reconcile tradition with modernization. Soyinka warns against excesses in either African impulse.

In Dance of the Forests he warns against living in nostalgia for Africa's past, and followed that work with The Lion and the Jewel in which he lampoons Africa's indiscriminate embrace of Western modernization.

His wide-ranging wit takes in all sections of a corrupt society - the brutal masses, aimless intellectuals, the affected and hypocritical university dons, the vulgar, corrupt businessmen, the mediocre civil servants, the illiterate politicians, and the incompetent journalists.

Videos
Books
Of Africa

Of Africa

You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir

You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir

Climate of Fear: The Quest for Dignity in a Dehumanized World (Reith Lectures)

Climate of Fear: The Quest for Dignity in a Dehumanized World (Reith Lectures)

Death and the King's Horseman (Norton Critical Editions)

Death and the King's Horseman (Norton Critical Editions)

The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness (The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Series)

The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness (The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Series)

The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis (W.E.B. Du Bois Institute)

The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis (W.E.B. Du Bois Institute)

News
FAQs
  • How do I book Wole Soyinka to speak at my event?

    Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like Wole Soyinka for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for Wole Soyinka, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for Wole Soyinka or any other speaker of your choice.
  • What are the speaker fees for Wole Soyinka

    Speaking fees for Wole Soyinka, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Wole Soyinka are $20,000 - $30,000 for live events and under $10,000 for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Wole Soyinka, click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Wole Soyinka speak about?

    Wole Soyinka is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Authors, Literary, Poetry, Professors, University Speakers, Virtual Speakers.
  • Where does Wole Soyinka travel from?

    Wole Soyinka generally travels from Covington, PA, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances across the country.
  • Who is Wole Soyinka’s agent?

    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Wole Soyinka for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Wole Soyinka for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service speaker booking agency?

    AAE Speakers Bureau is a full-service speaker booking agency, meaning we can completely manage the speaker’s or celebrity’s engagement with your organization from the time of booking your speaker through the event’s completion. We provide all of the services you need to host Wole Soyinka or any other speaker of your choice, including offer negotiation, contractual assistance, accounting and billing, and event speaker travel and logistics services. When you book a speaker with us, we manage the process of hosting a speaker for you as an extension of your team. Our goal is to give our clients peace of mind and a best-in-class service experience when booking a speaker with us.
  • Why is AAE Speakers Bureau different from other booking agencies?

    If you’re looking for the best, unbiased speaker recommendations, paired with a top-notch customer service experience, you’re in the right place. At AAE Speakers Bureau, we exclusively represent the interests of our clients - professional organizations, companies, universities, and associations. We intentionally do not represent the speakers we feature or book. That is so we can present our clients with the broadest and best performing set of speaker options in the market today, and we can make these recommendations without any obligation to promote a specific speaker over another. This is why when our agents suggest a speaker for your event, you can be assured that they are of the highest quality with a history of proven success with our other clients.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent and wish to request a profile update or removal from our online directory, please submit a profile request form.

Nobel Laureate for Literature; International Best-Selling Author

Travels From:
Covington, PA, USA
Speaking Fee:

Wole Soyinka Biography

Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, poet, and essayist who has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first African to be honored in that category.

The life of Soyinka's is one of the rare, riveting biographies of our time. His life course has brought him from death's door as a political prisoner in solitary confinement to the hallowed halls of Harvard, Yale, and Leeds.

Soyinka seems fated to bridge elements in our world which are poles apart. His vision is described variously as, "inspirational, transcendent," and "demanding but rewarding." As a playwright, poet, and novelist Soyinka's vision comes to us through a stunning corpus.

During the six years spent at the University of Leeds in England earning his doctorate, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London 1958-1959. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama. At the same time, he taught drama and literature at various universities in Ibadan, Lagos, and Ife, where, since 1975, he has been professor of comparative literature.

In 1960, he founded the theatre group, “The 1960 Masks” and in 1964, the “Orisun Theatre Company”, in which he has produced his own plays and taken part as actor. He has periodically been visiting professor at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Yale.

During the civil war in Nigeria, Soyinka appealed in an article for cease-fire. For this he was arrested in 1967, accused of conspiring with the Biafra rebels, and was held as a political prisoner for 22 months until 1969.

Soyinka's passion for the written word is nowhere more poignantly revealed than by his actions during his political imprisonment. He was denied reading and writing materials, but he manufactured his own ink and began to keep a prison diary, written on toilet paper, cigarette packages and in between the lines of the few books he secretly obtained.

Each poem or fragment from the journal he managed to smuggle to the outside world became a literary event and a reassurance to his supporters that Soyinka still lived.

Soyinka, who has held positions at Yale, Cornell, Cambridge, and Harvard, is acknowledged as one of the great dramatic imaginations of the 20th Century.

Many critics consider Soyinka Africa's finest writer. His unique style blends traditional Yoruban Folk Drama with European dramatic form. His corpus itself is one of the premier chronicles of Africa's political turmoil and its struggle to reconcile tradition with modernization. Soyinka warns against excesses in either African impulse.

In Dance of the Forests he warns against living in nostalgia for Africa's past, and followed that work with The Lion and the Jewel in which he lampoons Africa's indiscriminate embrace of Western modernization.

His wide-ranging wit takes in all sections of a corrupt society - the brutal masses, aimless intellectuals, the affected and hypocritical university dons, the vulgar, corrupt businessmen, the mediocre civil servants, the illiterate politicians, and the incompetent journalists.

Wole Soyinka Videos

  • A poem to all ‘Lost Poems’ by Wole Soyinka
  • TALK AFRICA: A conversation with Wole Soyinka
  • In conversation with Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate in Literature

Wole Soyinka Books

FAQs on booking Wole Soyinka

  • How do I book Wole Soyinka to speak at my event?

    Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like Wole Soyinka for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for Wole Soyinka, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for Wole Soyinka or any other speaker of your choice.
  • What are the speaker fees for Wole Soyinka

    Speaking fees for Wole Soyinka, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Wole Soyinka are $20,000 - $30,000 for live events and under $10,000 for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Wole Soyinka, click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Wole Soyinka speak about?

    Wole Soyinka is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Authors, Literary, Poetry, Professors, University Speakers, Virtual Speakers.
  • Where does Wole Soyinka travel from?

    Wole Soyinka generally travels from Covington, PA, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances across the country.
  • Who is Wole Soyinka’s agent?

    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Wole Soyinka for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Wole Soyinka for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service speaker booking agency?

    AAE Speakers Bureau is a full-service speaker booking agency, meaning we can completely manage the speaker’s or celebrity’s engagement with your organization from the time of booking your speaker through the event’s completion. We provide all of the services you need to host Wole Soyinka or any other speaker of your choice, including offer negotiation, contractual assistance, accounting and billing, and event speaker travel and logistics services. When you book a speaker with us, we manage the process of hosting a speaker for you as an extension of your team. Our goal is to give our clients peace of mind and a best-in-class service experience when booking a speaker with us.
  • Why is AAE Speakers Bureau different from other booking agencies?

    If you’re looking for the best, unbiased speaker recommendations, paired with a top-notch customer service experience, you’re in the right place. At AAE Speakers Bureau, we exclusively represent the interests of our clients - professional organizations, companies, universities, and associations. We intentionally do not represent the speakers we feature or book. That is so we can present our clients with the broadest and best performing set of speaker options in the market today, and we can make these recommendations without any obligation to promote a specific speaker over another. This is why when our agents suggest a speaker for your event, you can be assured that they are of the highest quality with a history of proven success with our other clients.

Wole Soyinka is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Wole Soyinka for your event is $20,000 - $30,000. Wole Soyinka generally travels from Covington, PA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Nnedi Okorafor, Kazuo Ishiguro, Simon Lovell, André Aciman and Caroline Elkins. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Wole Soyinka for an upcoming live or virtual event.

Wole Soyinka Speaker Videos

  • A poem to all ‘Lost Poems’ by Wole Soyinka
    TALK AFRICA: A conversation with Wole Soyinka
  • In conversation with Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate in Literature
    CNN's Amanpour's interview with Nigeria's Nobel Laureate Wole ...
  • Hero Summit 2013 - Wole Soyinka - Heroes
    Professor Wole Soyinka, governors visit 450,000 year old city in ...

Wole Soyinka News

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Speakers Similar to Wole Soyinka

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent and wish to request a profile update or removal from our online directory, please submit a profile request form.

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