Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has asked the National Executive of the Association of Nigerian Authors to cancel the commemoration being planned to mark the 50th anniversary of his prison memoirs ‘The Man Died’.

ANA had earlier announced a conference with the theme ‘Literature in the Cause of Governance – 50 Years After Wole Soyinka's The Man Died’, to be supervised by an organising committee under the Chairmanship of Prof Gbemisola Adeoti of the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria.

Wole Soyinka

But in a statement on Tuesday, Soyinka said he had told the organisers to put off the event.

Soyinka said, “For the avoidance of any doubt, I wish to confirm that I initiated the request to the National Executive of the Nigerian Association of Authors to put off the commemoration that is being planned for a 50th anniversary of my prison memoirs: The Man Died.

“This is only partly due to the current unsettled social conditions caused by the COVID pandemic, still ruthless in its disruption of the literary and other creative lives of numerous colleagues and institutions. Even more pertinent is my conviction that the Association of Nigerian Authors, just emerging from the worst crisis of its existence, requires to devote more time and energy to consolidating and bringing back all members into a unified fold.

“I have been profoundly encouraged by the efforts made by the Advisory Body and other “Elder Pens” of the association. I remain confident that ANA will emerge stronger and steadier than ever before, and resume its peerless contribution to the cultural life of the nation.”

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