Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has joined Loyola Marymount University (LMU) as the President’s Marymount Institute Professor in Residence.
The Nigerian-born playwright was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. He was the first African to receive this honor.
“Through his words and actions, Mr. Soyinka has transformed the world and embodies our university’s mission,” said LMU president Robert B. Lawton, S.J. “It is an honor to have Mr. Soyinka at LMU.”
Soyinka has published more than 20 literary works, including plays, essays, novels, poems, memoirs, academic and historical books.
He has taught at universities in Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, including the University of Ibadan, Harvard, Emory, Cambridge and Cornell.
Theresia de Vroom, professor of English and director of The Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts, described Soyinka as “a poet and playwright, a myth-maker, a translator, an essayist and a memoirist whose scope chronicles the lives of ordinary human beings caught between the opposing forces of creation and destruction.”
Active in Nigeria’s fight for independence, Soyinka was imprisoned in solitary confinement from 1967 to 1969 for writing an article that called for a cease-fire. He is still involved in Nigerian politics and the shaping of that African country as an independent nation.
Soyinka visited LMU earlier this year to read from his most recent literary work, You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir.
He has now accepted the inaugural professorship at LMU and will be interacting with students, faculty, staff and the community through a variety of events, ranging from small-group classroom visits to campus-wide discussions.