Wole Soyinka

International Council, Board of Directors | Black Mountain Institute

About Wole

Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka, the Nigerian playwright, poet, novelist, and critic, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. A member of the Yoruba people, Soyinka attended Government College and University College in Ibadan before graduating in 1958 from the University of Leeds in England. Upon his return to Nigeria, Wole founded a national theatre, The Masks (later the Orisun Theatre), and wrote his first important play, A Dance of the Forests, for the Nigerian independence celebrations. Soyinka‘s novels are The Interpreters and Season of Anomy. His volumes of poetry include Idanre and Other Poems, Poems from Prison (re-published as A Shuttle in the Crypt), and Mandela‘s Earth and Other Poems. He wrote most of Poems from Prison while a political prisoner in 1967-69, and later chronicled his arrest and imprisonment in The Man Died. Soyinka‘s principal critical work is Myth, Literature, and the African World, a collection of essays in which he examines the role of the artist in the light of Yoruba mythology and symbolism. An autobiography, Ake: The Years of Childhood, was published in 1981, and a companion piece, Isara: A Voyage Around Essay, in 1989. In 2006, he published You Must Set Forth at Dawn, his chronicle of exile from Nigeria.