A leading characters in modern African literature, Wole Soyinka, gives the annual ICORN-lecture at the Kapittel festival titled Language between Truth and Power. He will speak about the role that language and literature play in a political world that appears unstable, in the author’s home country and in the world in general.
Soyinka is a playwright, a novelist, a poet and a political activist, and has been a strong critic of successive Nigerian governments throughout his carreer. He was imprisoned for his political activities on several occasions and lived in exile for many years, most recently in 1994 when he was one of the leaders in the fight for democracy in Nigeria. In 1986, Soyinka was the first African awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Among his many plays are A Dance of the Forests, The Road ( 1965) and Death and the King's Horseman. Soyinka has written two novels, The Interpreters (1965) and Season of Anomy (1973), which is based on the writer's thoughts during his imprisonment.
Soyinka's poems are collected in Idanre, and Other Poems (1967), Poems from Prison (1969), A Shuttle in the Crypt (1972) the poem Ogun Abibiman (1976) and Mandela's Earth and Other Poems (1988).
Wole Soyinka was also the co-founder and second president of the International Parliament of Writers (IPW), which was founded in 1994 to form an international structure capable of organizing meaningful solidarity with persecuted writers in the world. IPW formed INCA, the International Network of Cities of Asylum, and more than 25 cities joined in, from all over Europe, the USA and Mexico. The INCA member cities committed themselves to host protect and promote persecuted writers, and many of them continued this work under the umbrella of ICORN, when the IPW and the INCA dissolved in 2005, ICORN established a sustainable model to continue their important work. Soyinka continued on the advisory board until 2005.
At Kapittel, Soyinka will also participate in a conversation with Jordi Savall and in the Chenjerai Hove Seminar, Homeless Sweet Home.
ICORN programming during Kapittel
Thursday 15 September
16:30: The Magnitsky Act by Andrej Nekrasov. This year’s perhaps most debated Norwegian film production revolves around the Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in 2009 in Russian custody. Nekrasov was ICORN writer in residence in Haugesund.
19.00 Film director Andrej Nekrasov meets Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal from the Helsingfors Committee.
20.00 Wole Soyinka. Language between truth and Power. See above.
Friday 16 September
15:30 Art and Commitment with Wole Soyinka and Jordi Savall: Two front-runners in the literary and musical world, Wole Soyinka and Jordi Savall, speak about art and commitment in a troubled world.
Saturday 17 September
11.00-13.00 Homeless Sweet Home – the Chenjerai Hove memorial seminar: In this first seminar on literature and exile, dedicated to ICORN writer Chenjerai Hove, who passed away in 2015, we meet Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, expert in exile literature, Professor Anders Olsson, the Russian exile ante DJ Stalingrad / Petr Silaev, Publisher and ICORN writer in Skien, Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury (Tutul), and associate professor at the University of Stavanger Brita Strand Rangnes.
Beside remembering Chenjerai’s authorship and his work with exile as main theme, they will discuss the importance of exile for literature more generally.
15.00 Words on the move: Four ICORN writers meet with four translators to work on fresh translations during the Kapittel festival Texts in languages that few Norwegians speak Tigrinya, Farsi, Arabic and Oromo to be Norwegian. The conversation takes place in Norwegian and English, and is chaired by Johanne Fronth-Nygren.
In Norwegian, English, Arabic and Farsi, Omoro and Tigrinya.
20:15: Nada Yousif (Iraq/Molde) with Anne Karin Torheim (15 min)
20:45: Mohammad Rahbar (Iran/Trondheim) with Inger Gjelsvik
21:30: Hika Fekede Dugassa (Ethiopia/Molde/Stavanger) with Johanne Fronth-Nygren
Sigbjørn Obstfelder in Arabic
On the occasion of the 150 years anniversary of Sigbjørn Obstfelder, ICORN writers have reinterpreted some of his most known poems into Arabic.
19.45: Otba Fathallah Mahmoud and Mansur Rajih
20.30: Mohammad Habeeb and Manal Al-Sheikh
Find the whole Kapittel Programme