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Event to celebrate work of Nobel Prize-winning poet

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

LAWRENCE — An event featuring poetry, dance and live music will celebrate the life and work of Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Soyinka, Nigerian playwright and poet. “African Literature in Rhythmic Cadence: Wole Soyinka @ 80” will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in the Hawks Nest at the Kansas Union.

Soyinka was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature and was the first African to be honored. He is an outspoken critic of oppressive regimes, including past military dictatorships in Nigeria. 

The event will include readings by students and KU faculty members Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka, theatre and  women, gender & sexuality studies; Giselle Anatol, English; Nicole Hodges Persley, theatre, and Peter Ukpokodu, theatre and African & African-American studies. Featured musicians are the Rev. Brandon McCray, a gospel saxophonist and a doctoral candidate in music, and esteemed Bay Area saxophonist Howard Wiley, who has worked with Amiri Baraka and The Last Poets.

The event is co-sponsored by the Kansas African Studies Center, the Center for Global & International Studies, the Department of African & African-American Studies and the Department of Theatre. 

Migration Stories: Africans in Midwestern Communities

The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. With close to 10,000 African immigrants living today in the heartland metropolitan centers of Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, Emporia, Wichita and Garden City, a new project entitled “Migration Stories” will facilitate the sharing of migration stories about Africans within Midwestern communities. Visit to learn more. 

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