Wole Soyinka

Winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature

Wole Soyinka photo

Soyinka is the first Black person to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1986). The motivation for the Prize was, “… who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence.”

Wole Soyinka was born on July 13, 1934 at Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria. After preparatory university studies in 1954 at Government College in Ibadan, he continued at the University of Leeds, where, later, in 1973, he took his doctorate. During the six years spent in England, he was a dramaturgist at the Royal Court Theatre in London 1958-1959. In 1960, he was awarded a Rockefeller bursary and returned to Nigeria to study African drama. At the same time, he taught drama and literature at various universities in Ibadan, Lagos, and Ife, where, since 1975. Soyinka has been a professor of comparative literature. In 1960, he founded the theater group, “The 1960 Masks” and in 1964, the “Orisun Theatre Company”, in which he has produced his own plays and taken part as actor. He has periodically been visiting professor at the universities of Cambridge, Sheffield, and Yale. (read more)

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10 Books by Wole Soyinka