Receiving a Nobel in the third world puts your existence at risk: Wole Soyinka

Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka, the first black author to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, said that receiving the award in the third world “is a double-edged sword” in most cases, since it also entails “a risk to one’s own existence.”

There is not a single human being who does not value receiving an award, but in the case of the Nobel, it is an immense burden. Existence in the third world is already complicated enough and a prize like this gives you some protection against power, but it also arouses some envy “, explained the author, who publishes a new novel, ‘Chronicles from the country of the most Happy Earth ‘(Alfaguara), after almost half a century of narrative silence.

Soyinka, who has been very critical of Nigerian power and that It has meant years in jail and exile, He recalled how a dictator had a friend of his who had become a benchmark in the ecological struggle in Nigeria hanged, with the backing of authorities such as Nelson Mandela.

The dictator decided to hang him and that was his way of defying international opinion “, the writer stressed, also revealing that this was one of the reasons that led him to leave his country.

I fled a year later on a motorcycle, because I realized that my good luck was wearing thin and that this dictator also wanted to put a Nobel Prize on his resume, “he revealed.

Soyinka has referred to the last winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, celebrating, for example, that with Abdulrazak Gurnah – the last winner – “he has returned to the African continent”.

Western readers are beginning to realize the artistic wealth of the continent, not only in literature, “he defended.

However, he wanted to “be very clear” about decisions based on quotas.

I don’t believe in quotas or regional representations or anything like that. It seems to me something very condescending and it would be horrible if the Academy thought of giving an award to someone because ‘it’s time’. Her obligation is to be adventurous and continue to surprise the world. “


Soyinka decided to break her American green card due to the policies of the previous US president Donald Trump.

He has been one of the most dangerous heads of state in history, It is an insult to the human being and I believe that it is not completely outside and that the danger still exists, “he criticized.

Trump was in charge of millions of people and with the covid he admitted that he knew of the extent of the danger. But did nothing to confront the threat and that makes him responsible for at least half of the deaths for this disease in the country. He is a mass murderer and the United States has to wake up and realize what ‘Trumpism’ means, “he lamented.

For the Nobel Prize, the arrival of Biden to power will mean a change in the politics of the North American country, but we will have to wait to see the results.

I feel sorry for Biden and he still has to do, because he has assumed power from underground, “he added.

Soyinka currently lives in Nigeria, where she has returned from exile, and acknowledges that he misses the “anonymity” before winning the Nobel Prize.

It has been terrible for me and it is a constant struggle on a day-to-day basis to regain a certain degree of anonymity and return to being the person as before, “he concluded

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Receiving a Nobel in the third world puts your existence at risk: Wole Soyinka