Wole Soyinka turns 80

Wole Soyinka turns 80

Over time, most interviews, be they phoners or even in-person, start to blur together. Some stand out in your memory because of a great conversation or odd location; Wole Soyinka was a bit of both. When I met him for lunch a few years ago, it was with a small group of other journalists, so it was the general curiosity and awkwardness of trying to eat naturally while taking notes—times six:

Soyinka spoke with a smile about the continuing strength of Nigeria’s culture of reading and the centrality of Yoruba culture in his writing. “That doesn’t mean I’m not at home with Italian pasta and American jazz,” he says. “I’m made up of all these things I consume culturally.”