oa Africa Insight - Wole Soyinka

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



The choice of Nigerian author Wole Soyinka as Nobel Prize laureate for literature in 1986, did not come as a surprise to his many critics and readers in the English-speaking world. Soyinka's corpus, which after some 30 years of sustained creativity seems far from completed, is prodigious and multi-faceted. Like his guiding Yoruba god, Ogen, Soyinka combines a restless, ever-charged creative impulse with an ability to wreak destructive vengeance on the perverse, the corrupt, and the life-denying manifestations of his society and the broader world. Soyinka has written 15 major plays, two novels, two autobiographical narratives, three volumes of poetry (as well as the long poem, Ogun Abibiman), a major work of criticism (Myth, literature and the African world), and has also produced a film, a record and several satirical revues. In addition, he features as a director, actor, producer, professor of comparative literature at Ife and a man of action, whose efforts to curtail the bloodshed of the Biafran War in the 1960s led him first into dangerous war zones, then into prison - mostly solitary confinement - for over two years, although he was never charged.

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