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Chris Abani and Wole Soyinka at LIVE from the NYPL

  • Stephen A. Schwarzman Building 5th Avenue at 42nd Street New York, NY 10018 (map)

It’s a rare gift to meet your greatest literary influence, but Chris Abani will have that moment in his conversation with Nobel Prize-winner Wole Soyinka. Equally special will be seeing these two writers meet, converse, riff, and reflect on stage at LIVE.

Chris Abani is a novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright born in Nigeria. Through his TED Talks, public speaking and essays, Abani is known as an international voice on humanitarianism, art, ethics, and our shared political responsibility. His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography.  He is the author of four novels, two novellas, seven poetry collections, and a short memoir with translations into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dutch, Bosnian and Serbian. Abani is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, an Edgar Prize and a Guggenheim Award. He is a Ford USA Artists Fellow and is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Wole Soyinka, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, has authored over forty works in the medium of plays, novels, poetry and essays, many of which have received world-wide translations. His biography You Must Set Forth at Dawn is perhaps the most informative account of a multi-faceted existence, but his childhood memoirs, AKE, The Years of Childhood is considered the most penetrating insight into the formative years of his life and environment, and has been rated a classic of childhood memoirs. His theatre genre ranges from political satires – A Play Of Giants - to the densely poetic and mythological, such as Death and the King’s Horseman. Active on both artistic and Human Rights organisations, he is currently Professor Emeritus at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Fellow of the Black Mountain Institute, University of Nevada, Hutchins Fellow at Harvard University and Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He has won numerous international awards, and also undergone spells of political trials and imprisonment, including twenty-one months in solitary confinement for his stance during the Nigerian Civil War. His current and most challenging undertaking, he confesses, is learning how to retire gracefully from public life.

A note to our patrons: LIVE from the NYPL programs begin promptly at 7p.m. We recommend arriving twenty minutes before the scheduled start time to get to your seats. In order to minimize disturbances to other audience members, we are unable to provide late seating.

When: Wednesday, November 9, 2016, 7:00–9:00 pm

Where: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Celeste Bartos Forum, 5th Ave at 42nd St, New York, NY 10018

Tickets: $25. Seniors, students, and Friends are eligible for discounts.