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“A Very Lazy Writer”- How Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka Described Himself In A 2005 Interview

1986 Winner of the Nobel Literature Professor Wole Soyinka is not known for false modesty, after all, he once famously declared himself to be a ‘serial monogamist’; but in a 2005 interview ,’Kongi’ made the claim that he’s not a compulsive writer as his readers might think.

Speaking to Simon Stanford in a piece republished on the Nobel Prize website, Soyinka referred to himself as a ‘lazy writer’.

‘That’s a very good question’, he said when asked if he found it easy to start writing. ‘I think I’m a very lazy writer and by that, I mean that I do not battle, I don’t struggle too hard against it. If I have difficulties in the writing, I just go and do other things. I don’t feel a compulsion to write. Of course, when I start writing then it becomes a compulsive activity, because I’ve begun something and I want to continue, want to finish it. The characters in my play are crowding my head, demanding to be let out or demanding to be allowed to complete what they’ve set out to do, so there is compulsion there and of course, I can carry an idea with me in my head, it just is there for months, years.’

He went on to say

‘I know there are other writers who sit down religiously every morning, they take their espresso, they put a clean sheet of paper there and they sit looking at that paper until they’ve finished or covered at least a number of those pages. No, I’m not like that. I have to be ready. It has to gestate it for quite a while and then it’s ready to burst forth.’

Nevertheless, Soyinka is one of the most respected writers in the world. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986- the first African to do so. He has over 100 books to his credit.


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Written by MT


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