John L Warfield Center

Wolé Sóyínká, Nigerian Writer and Critic

Mon, February 25, 2008

Date: March 2 - 3

Location: B. Iden Payne Theater, Winship Drama Building

Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, Nigerian playwright, poet and political activist, will discuss the crisis in Darfur, Sudan at The University of Texas at Austin, March 2-3. Soyinka is the first African to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (1986).

The university will welcome Soyinka with a cultural celebration, "Ekaàbò o, Òjògbón Wole Soyinka!" featuring student music and dance performances at 7 p.m., Sunday, March 2. Soyinka will deliver the keynote address, "Race, Rights and the Agony of Darfur," at 7 p.m, Monday, March 3.

Soyinka is the author of more than 40 plays, novels and essays that highlight a variety of African cultural and political issues. He has been imprisoned several times for his criticism of the Nigerian government. His best-known plays include "Death and the King's Horseman" (1975), and "A Play of Giants" (1984). His memoirs include "Ake" (1983), which outlines his early years, and "You Must Set Forth at Dawn" (2006), which focuses on his adult life and political activism.

The March 2 event will include dance performances bythe African Student's Association, Nritya Sangam Indian Dance Troupe and the African Diasporic Performance Troupe. John Kidenda, an international student from Kenya, will read from his poetry. The event is also supported by Apha Phi Alpha, a social-service fraternity, and ProArts Collective, Austin's black arts organization.

At the March 3 lecture, faculty members will offer opening remarks prior to Soyinka's address, including: Tola Mosadomi, assistant professor of Middle Eastern studies and affiliate of the Center for African and African American Studies; Toyin Falola, professor of history and affiliate of the Center for African and African American Studies; and Randy Diehl, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Barbara Harlow, professor of English, will moderate a question-and-answer session following Soyinka's lecture.

Soyinka's visit is sponsored by the Center for African and African Studies, Center for Mexican American Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Department of English, Department of History, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Division for Diversity and Community Engagement, Harry Ransom Center, Humanities Institute, Office of the President, Program in Comparative Literature, Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Social Justice in the School of Law, and the Yoruba Progressive Association of Austin.

The events are free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

For questions about the March 2 cultural celebration, contact Joni Jones of the Department of Theater and Dance at 512-471-4320 or For questions about the March 3 lecture, contact Tola Mosadomi at 512-471-7871 or, or Barbara Harlow at

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