Wole Soyinka

Nigeria, 1934

Wole Soyinka is a playwright, poet and essayist, and winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature. He played an active role in Nigeria’s struggle for independence from the United Kingdom and in opposing oppressive governments in Nigeria and elsewhere. He was Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Ife, and has also taught at Cornell University, Emory University, Harvard, Oxford and Yale. In plays such as Madmen and Specialists (1971), Death and the King’s Horseman (1975) and The Beatification of Area Boy (1995), Soyinka skilfully fuses Western influences with subject matter and dramatic techniques deeply rooted in Yoruba folklore and religion.