You Must Set Forth at Dawn

by Wole Soyinka
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What is the style of You Must Set Forth at Dawn by Wole Soyinka?

The style of You Must Set Forth at Dawn, a memoir by Nobel Prize winner, playwright, and political activist Wole Soyinka, is both gritty and lyrical.

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Wole Soyinka’s 2007 memoir, You Must Set Forth at Dawn, is the counterpart to his 1981 memoir, Aké: The Years of Childhood . This newest work is a compilation of the chaotic events that marked Soyinka’s adulthood, as well as more lighthearted remembrances of the people who inspired...

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Wole Soyinka’s 2007 memoir, You Must Set Forth at Dawn, is the counterpart to his 1981 memoir, Aké: The Years of Childhood. This newest work is a compilation of the chaotic events that marked Soyinka’s adulthood, as well as more lighthearted remembrances of the people who inspired him with their kindness in the face of cruel authoritarian leadership.

Born to the Yoruba people on July 13, 1934, Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka, the first-ever African recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, grew up in Nigeria, a place of besieged beauty. He left Nigeria for several years to complete his education at the University of Leeds in England.

After completing his English degree in 1958, he returned to Nigeria, wasting no time by establishing an acting company and writing his first noted play, A Dance of the Forests. This, as well as much of his subsequent work, is often rooted in satire, irony, and poeticism, particularly in terms of a character’s morals and social status.

You Must Set Forth at Dawn builds upon Wole Soyinka’s established lighthearted tone while simultaneously weaving in serious ruminations about his unwavering fight for Nigerian democracy. Soyinka has been both imprisoned and exiled for his activism, yet his writings remain uniquely uncensored and nontraditional sources of an indomitably creative, purposeful life.

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