Turkish novelist and academic, Elif Shafak, sat down with Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka for an episode of Studio B: Unscripted, where the two brilliant minds discussed nationalism, safe spaces, and the role of a writer in the modern age. Soyinka, characteristically, had a lot of insight and humour, sharing that writers are maybe masochists.
Early in the conversation, Shafak brought up the role of history, and how it’s constantly being revised through new lens. Soyinka, chipping in, discussed an old film he watched a long time ago, where a gay man was accepted in his society of a native Indian village. He then fast forwarded to the future to remark about the anti-gay bill passed into law in Nigeria.
“…you come to a country like Nigeria,” Soyinka says, “and within this decade, there are legislators who, out of all the problems assailing Nigerians – the poverty, kidnapping etcetera – took time off to pass a law which included phrases like ‘ the expression of affection between two people of the same sex.’ And I asked myself and I wrote at the time: ‘What’s your business with what happens with consenting adults? You don’t have enough problems of your own already?’”
Watch this clip below, and the full conversation on YouTube: