Born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, in 1934, Soyinka’s career has spanned many genres – from his work as a playwright, poet, novelist and essayist – and many guises, including regular appointments as visiting professor at several top universities around the world.
He won the Nobel prize in literature in 1986 and is often spoken of in the company of Achebe and Ngugi.
Like his fellow Nigerian, Soyinka was outspoken on the subject of the Biafran War, calling for a cease-fire in 1967.
He was subsequently imprisoned for just under two years, a period he recounts in his memoir, The Man Died: Prison Notes (1972).
Throughout a more than 50-year career, Soyinka has produced scores of novels, poems and plays. Some of his best-known work includes the plays The Trial of Brother Jero (1963), A Dance of the Forests (1963), Death and the King’s Horseman (1975) and A Play of Giants (1984), as well as the novels The Interpreters (1965) and Season of Anomy (1973).
Collections of his poetry include Poems from Prison (1969), A Shuttle in the Crypt (1972) and Mandela’s Earth and Other Poems (1988).
This considerable body of work has secured his status as one of the most prominent voices on and from the continent. His plays are now as likely to be performed in London as they are in Lagos.
Some of the books by Wole Soyinka: