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10 Mind-Blowing Things Prof Niyi Osundare Said At Africa’s Biggest Cultural And Literary Event

Africa’s best poet Professor Niyi Osundare in conversation with writer-journalist, Kunle Ajibade speaks about his life, poetry, Ken Saro-Wiwa and African Literature.

Professor Niyi Osundare at Ake Book and Arts FestivalProfessor Niyi Osundare at Ake Book and Arts Festival

Here are 10 mind-blowing things he said:

On Writing, Reading and Poetry:

1. “If you meet a writer and the writer says they have no influence, that writer is a fraud.”

2. “I read music, I read literature, I read what has not been written

3. Osundare paraphrases Neruda: “I made a pledge to myself, time and time again, that the people will find their voices in my song”

4. Asked by a white American what books his parents read to him, Osundare answered, “None! My father had a library… full of yam”


5. “I don’t insult poetry by reading it sitting down”

On Money:

6. “No matter how beautiful money is, it is never as beautiful as a baby.”

On Ken Saro Wiwa:

7. “Ken Saro Wiwa, represents for us the depth of our possibilities and the level of our unfortunate”

8. “If you eat but do not feed your neighbor, the grumbling of his stomach will disturb your sleep,”

On why he is always angry:

9. “Anger is an inevitable ingredient in our inspiration”

On why we should study Shakespeare and other foreign writers:

10. “I’m not saying we should abandon African Literature, but we will appreciate our literature more when we know about others”



Written by PH

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