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Famous Like Me > Writer > S > Wole Soyinka

Profile of Wole Soyinka on Famous Like Me

Name: Wole Soyinka  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 13th July 1934
Place of Birth: Yoruba, Nigeria
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Wole Soyinka

Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka (b. July 13, 1934) is a Nigerian writer (considered to be Africa's most distinguished playwright) and the first African winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.

Soyinka was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria in 1934. He received a primary school education in Abeokuta and secondary school at Government College, Ibadan. He studied at the University College, Ibadan (1952-1954) and the University of Leeds (1954-1957) from which he received an honours degree in English Literature. He worked as a play reader at the Royal Court Theatre in London before returning to Nigeria to study African drama. He taught in the Universities of Lagos, Ibadan, and Ife (becoming Professor of Comparative Literature there in 1975). In 1986 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature becoming the first African to be so honored.

Soyinka has played an active role in Nigeria's political history; In 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War he was arrested by the Federal Government and put in solitary confinement for his attempts at brokering a peace between the warring parties. He was released 22 months later after international attention was drawn to his imprisonment. His experiences in prison are recounted in his book The Man Died.

He has been an outspoken critic of many Nigerian administrations and of political tyrannies worldwide, including the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. A great deal of his writing has been concerned with "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it". This activism has often exposed him to great personal risk most notable during the government of the Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha (1993-1998). During Abacha's dictatorship, Soyinka left the country on voluntary exile and has since been living abroad (mainly in the United States where he was a professor at Emory University in Atlanta). Soyinka is the head of the English department at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In 2005, he became one of the spearheads of an alternative National conference - PRONACO.



  • Ak√© (Childhood Autobiography)
  • Season of Anomy
  • The Interpreters


  • The Swamp Dwellers
  • The Lion and the Jewel
  • The Trials of Brother Jero
  • A Dance of the Forests
  • The Lion and the Jewel
  • Death and the King's Horseman
  • Madmen and Specialists
  • A Play of Giants
  • The Beatification of the Area Boy
  • King Baabu
  • Camwood on the Leaves

Poetry collections

  • A Shuttle in the Crypt
  • Idanre and other poems
  • Mandela's Earth
  • Ogun Abibiman
  • Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known


  • Isara: A Voyage Around Essay
  • Art, Dialogue, and Outrage

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Wole Soyinka