Monday, May 20, 2013
Writing. I had never loved literature. I grew up in a place where Arts students were called ‘unserious’ while the Science students were praised for their serious-mindedness. And being a teenager who always felt she had something to prove, I joined the Science class. Later I would go on to study Computer Science. But I lost all that seriousness and consciousness that Science required. Perhaps I began to see Science as one large menacing figure, ambling around me, striping me of my emotions. Life is created from one’s thought. Our thoughts give rise to actions that make or break a people. Once, I had imagined life was me dreaming and the world and everyone in it existed only in my subconscious. Again, it seemed my stories were made manifest in an alternate universe, creating and disrupting lives, changing destinies. It was a defining point in my life and there was joy in finding my place and deriving joy in a craft that came to me like breathing. I had finally realized who I was meant to be and who I will always be: a storyteller."
On Saturday, Soyinka gave a rather revealing account of his relationship with Achebe and his sense of Achebe’s work within the context of the African literary tradition. It was in the form an interview done by Sahara Reporters, who as we all know are very skilled at making interviewees respond to controversial questions. I find the interview to be a strange document.
First of all, I find it odd that the first substantial set of reflections that Soyinka shares about Achebe after his death should take the form of an interview that, for all its aspiration to honesty, comes across as bitter and smug"
Saturday, May 18, 2013
SaharaReporters Interview Exclusive: Achebe A Celebrated Storyteller, But No Father Of African Literature, Says Soyinka
"In a wide-ranging interview with SaharaReporters, Soyinka paid tribute to the late novelist who died on March 21, 2013 at 82. Soyinka, who won the 1986 Nobel Prize for literature, also spoke on his personal relationship with Achebe and other Nigerian writers; his regrets about Achebe’s last book, There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra; and his attempt to talk the late Biafran leader, Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, out of fighting a war. Soyinka also answered questions about Heinemann’s African Writers Series and scolded “clannish” and “opportunistic hagiographers” fixated on the fact that Achebe never won the Nobel Prize."