Wole Soyinka

  • Professor Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 in Ake, Abeokuta in Western Nigeria.
  • Studied at the University of Leeds and Ibadan
  • Started “The 1960 Masks” and “The Orisun Theatre.”
  • Author of many plays, collections of poems, novels, short stories, Essays…

Among his works are: The Swamp Dwellers, The Intervention, The Trials of Brother Jero, Jero’s Metamorphosis, A Dance of the Forests, The Tortoise, Camwood on the Leaves, Culture in Transition (Documentary), The Interpreters, Before the Deluge, Kongi’s Harvest, The Lion and the Jewel, The Strong Breed, Idanre and other Poems, The Road, A shuttle in the Crypt, Madmen and Specialists, The Man Died, A Dance of the Forests, Season of Anomy, Ogun Abibiman, Myth, Literature and the African World, Death and the King’s Horseman, Opera Wonyosi, Ake: The Years of Childhood, A Play of Giants, Mandela’s Earth and Other Poems, The Search, Isara: A Voyage Around Essay, A Scourge of Hyacinths, From Zia with Love, Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years, The Beautification of Area Boy, The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis, King Baabu, Samarkand and other Markets I Have Known, Climate of Fear.

  • Awarded the Agip Prize for the Humanities (1986)
  • Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986
  • Honorary Member of American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1986)
  • Awarded Nigeria’s second highest honour, Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR (1986).
  • Fellow, Society for the Humanities at Cornel University (1986)
  • Elected President of the International Theatre Institute, Paris. (1986)
  • Awarded Commander Order of Merit, by the Italian Government (1990).
  • Awarded George Benson Medal of the Royal Society for Literature(1990).
  • Receives honorary doctorate degree at Harvard University (1993).
  • Fellow of the Dubois Institute, Harvard University (1994).
  • Appointed to hold the first Elias Ghanem Chair in Creative Writing, at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas to serve as the
  • Director of Literary Arts, International Institute of Modern Letters (2002).
  • The Wole Soyinka Chair in Drama is established at his alma mater, the University of Leeds (2004).

Wole Soyinka is the very first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, which brought Africa so much honour and recognition. He has fought tirelessly, selflessly and bravely for justice and harmony. He is without doubt a colossal figure in the literary world, one who undeniably has very positively impacted on individuals and the society at large.

Described as: Consummate artist, eminent scholar, playwright of distinction, poet, novelist, essayist, polemicist, excellent satirist, Nobel laureate, road marshal extraordinaire, a committed advocate for freedom, justice and fair-play, activist of rare conscience, eloquent speaker, an avid hunter of wild game, a connoisseur of fine wine, a fine patriot and deeply sensitive and responsive human being.