Portrait of an author: Wole Soyinka
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Nigerian playwright, poet, political activist
Last published play: Alapata Apata (Bookcraft, 2011)
The price seemed reasonable, location
Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self-confession. “Madam” , I warned,
“I hate a wasted journey—I am African.”
Silence. Silenced transmission of pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came,
Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled
Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was, foully.
“HOW DARK?”...I had not misheard.... “ARE YOU LIGHT OR VERY DARK?”
—Excerpted from Telephone Conversation, 1963
A 12-part series of portraits selected for Lounge by Rohit Chawla, who has photographed over 200 authors at the Jaipur Literature Festival over a decade.