You Must Set Forth at Dawn by Wole Soyinka
A Memoir

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Synopsis

The first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as a political activist of prodigious energies, Wole Soyinka now follows his modern classic Ake: The Years of Childhood with an equally important chronicle of his turbulent life as an adult in (and in exile from) his beloved, beleaguered homeland.
In the tough, humane, and lyrical language that has typified his plays and novels, Soyinka captures the indomitable spirit of Nigeria itself by bringing to life the friends and family who bolstered and inspired him, and by describing the pioneering theater works that defied censure and tradition. Soyinka not only recounts his exile and the terrible reign of General Sani Abacha, but shares vivid memories and playful anecdotes–including his improbable friendship with a prominent Nigerian businessman and the time he smuggled a frozen wildcat into America so that his students could experience a proper Nigerian barbecue.
More than a major figure in the world of literature, Wole Soyinka is a courageous voice for human rights, democracy, and freedom. You Must Set Forth at Dawn is an intimate chronicle of his thrilling public life, a meditation on justice and tyranny, and a mesmerizing testament to a ravaged yet hopeful land.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Wole Soyinka

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Wole Soyinka, the first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, is a Nigerian writer, poet, and playwright. For his implacable resistance to political tyranny he has been imprisoned, threatened with assassination, and at times forced to live in exile.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Random House. 530 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for You Must Set Forth at Dawn

Kirkus Reviews

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as he writes, somewhat elliptically, “the Nobel appears to be a bug whose bite is craved, sometimes without a sense of discrimination or inhibition,” while elsewhere he grumbles that “the moment the next beauty queen [is] crowned had better be recognized as my hour of liberation.” The burden of t...

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The New York Times

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There is necessarily more to learn about the political Soyinka than about the man of letters, if only because so much of his political activity was undertaken discreetly or secretly, and he is only now — with the re-establishment of civilian (if increasingly undemocratic) rule under Olusegun Obas...

Apr 23 2006 | Read Full Review of You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A...

The Guardian

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You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A Memoir by Wole Soyinka 626pp, Methuen, in association with Bookcraft, £19.99 According to Yoruba wisdom, as one approaches elder status, one ceases to indulge in battles.

May 26 2007 | Read Full Review of You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A...

London Review of Books

Towards the end of this, his third volume of memoirs, which covers the period from independence in 1960 to the death of General Sani Abacha in 1998, the 64-year-old Wole Soyinka is preparing to infiltrate himself back into his native Nigeria to confront the latest manifestation of military advent...

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Bookmarks Magazine

That Soyinka’s story so closely aligns with the history of Nigeria testifies to his ongoing commitment to the cause of democracy, but the focus on politics leaves a few reviewers wishing for more of the personal stories found in Aké, his first memoir, and The Man Died, about his two-year imprison...

Aug 29 2007 | Read Full Review of You Must Set Forth at Dawn: A...

Socialist Review

Nobel prize-winning author Wole Soyinka has written plays, poems and novels steeped in what Nigerian tradition there is and that of his own Yoruba people.

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