How to pronounce Wole Soyinka: woll soy-inka
Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka (born July 13, 1934) is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright. Some consider him Africa's most distinguished playwright, as he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986, the first African to be so honored.
Soyinka studied at the University College, Ibadan and the University of Leeds (UK) where he received a degree in English Literature. After a time working as a playwright and a play reader for the Royal Court Theatre in London, he returned to Nigeria, where he has taught in the Universities of Lagos, Ibadan, and Ife (becoming Professor of Comparative Literature there in 1975).
Soyinka has played an active role in Nigeria's political history. In 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War he was arrested and put in solitary confinement for his attempts at brokering a peace between the warring parties. While in prison he wrote poetry which was published in a collection titled Poems from Prison. Following international pressure regarding his imprisonment he was released, and recounted his experiences in prison in his book The Man Died: Prison Notes.
A prolific writer of novels, poetry and plays, he continues to be an outspoken critic of many Nigerian administrations, and of political tyrannies worldwide. Much 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.
Wole Soyinka has four children, one boy and three girls from his wife Laide. He had 2 children prior to his first marriage.
This biography was last updated on 03/26/2016.
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