article comment count is: 0

Wole Soyinka says “I would like to be nominated for a Grammy”

The dust will certainly take time to settle, on the contentious decision to award the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature to American songwriter, and singer Bob Dylan. Comments by Nigerian poet and activist Wole Soyinka that he “would like to be nominated for a Grammy” have reignited and spiced up a conversation, which seemed to have been dying. Could Soyinka get a nomination for next year’s 59th Grammy Awards? Well, he certainly believes he has written enough poetry to warrant a nomination.

If there was any lingering doubt that the decision to award the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature to American songwriter, and singer Bob Dylan didn’t go down well with many Africans, then the comments by Nigerian poet Wole Soyinka surely dispels the uncertainty.

Soyinka weighed in on the debate, and he was quoted saying he would like to be nominated for a Grammy for his poetry publications.

Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o participates in an event of the 13 Paraty International Literaty Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 03 July 2015. Photo: ANP /EPA Sebastiao Moreira
Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o participates in an event of the 13 Paraty International Literaty Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 03 July 2015. Photo: ANP /EPA Sebastiao Moreira

Soyinka made the remarks in response to a question while addressing students at a seminar at Oxford University and said “Since I’ve written quite a number of songs for my plays, I would like to be nominated for a Grammy”.

Dylan was surprisingly awarded the Nobel Prize “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

However, the award caused a deep consternation amongst African writers, and social media users with some arguing that seminal Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o deserved to win the Prize.

Read: Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in Literature, award eludes Kenyan great Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Although Soyinka’s comments appear to be tongue-in-cheek, they are the clearest indication that the decision to award a songwriter with an award traditionally reserved for literature writers has unsettled people who believe the award should not straddle the line between music/performance and literature.

Only four African writers have won the Nobel Prize for literature, Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt), and two South African writers, Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee respectively.

Could Soyinka get a nomination for next year’s 59th Grammy Awards and become the first African writer to win a Grammy? Well, he certainly believes he has written enough poetry to warrant a nomination.

Tell us what you think

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.

By continuing to use our website, you agree to our use of cookies. If you'd like to learn more about the cookies we use, please read our Cookie policy.