Friday, April 14, 2006

Radio, Radio

So fun to listen to tune in late to a long NPR interview and try to figure out who is being interviewed. I heard a man with a lovely accent, Caribbean--no, African--talking with great assurance about his own rightness. He spoke about corrupt regimes in Africa and the role he had had in bringing them down and I wondered, is this man corrupt, too, or is he a great an noble person, a hero? He spoke about his experience of Independence (he was a young man, in college) and his rather quick recognition that the new, black leaders were not much less corrupt than the English who had just left and I thought about a great story by Bessie Head and also about the phenomenon of the “big men” that Ama Ata Aidoo skewers in Our Sister Killjoy. (The “big men” are European-educated Africans who return home to Africa and, although they know how to drive, insist upon having drivers [often men who do not know how to drive and crash the cars], and proudly spend time with the whites in Africa and wax nostalgic about Mother England.) But it took me a long time to know who was speaking.

Then, he spoke about Nigeria and Nigerian literature and, at last, I figured it out: Wole Soyinka! Hurrah! A wonderful interview on the Leonard Lopate show. Soyinka will be at the 92nd St. Y on Monday. You can find a link to a review of his memoir over at Moorish girl:
Events: Wole Soyinka will be speaking
Monday, April 17 at 8 pm
The 92nd Street Y
For tickets, call 212-415-5500 or visit

Leonard Lopate is also co-hosting the May BBC book club in NYC which will discuss the work of another towering African writer, Chinua Achebe. You can actually go to the taping and ask a question in person. Or, submit one via email. Wow!

I’m late to this whole newfangled podcasting thing, but as I write, I’m listening to the Bat Segundo show. If you haven’t downloaded any of these interviews, do. They’re funny and moving and great. He’s had two really BIG gets this month—Erica Jong (who is right now talking about what she thinks about The Da Vinci Code) and Jay McInerney. Don't know if I have the stamina for more McInerney--that might be too much of an 80s hangover for me--but the Jong is terrific. Boy I like her. You can see that she's a good teacher.

Finally, and not on radio, be sure to pop on over to the Lit Blog Co-op. Discussions of the spring nominees and the spring Read This! selection start on Monday. Mail off your taxes and tune in. In a change of procedure, we’re announcing the summer nominees early. They are:
  • Michael Martone by Michael Martone from FC2
  • White Spirit by Paule Constant (translated by Betsy Wing) from University of Nebraska Press
  • Skin by Kellie Wells from University of Nebraska Press
  • Crawl Space by Edie Meidav from FSG
Beautiful Nebraska! Two nominees!


Michelle said...

Hi Anne,
WFUV is pretty good too ( They even have a show where they interview Fordham Professors about their research and books.

Are you going to see Wole Soyinka on Monday? I got my ticket but I wish they held those talks earlier...I hate making the long trek back home.

Michelle said...

P.S. Soyinka is also speaking at the Carnegie Council Monday morning at 8.

Unknown said...

Hi Michelle,

I love WFUV but mostly for the music--I should take more advantage of their talk programs.

I'm not going to Soyinka--I'll be sorry to miss it. I hope you write it up!

(Monday morning at 8 isn't a lot better than late nights, is it?)

Michelle said...

Hi Anne,
No, you're right, 8 am isn't much better either! I chose the lesser (and cheaper :)) of the two evils...

Anyway, Happy Easter/Passover!