Soyinka, a Nigerian English speaking writer of yoruba origin, was born in Abeokuta in 1934.
He earned his first degree at Ibadan University (Nigeria), then at the University of Leeds (England) and followed drama courses at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Back to his country, he founded two theatrical groups. At the beginning of the Biafran war, his negotiation for a peaceful solution cost him two years in prison (1967- 69). He was released at the end of the war, and was appointed president of UNESCO International Theatre Institute in 1985. The following year he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
After Abacha’s coupe d’état in 1993, several times Soyinka denounced the Nigerian military regime violence. After he had reached safety abroad, a death sentence for betrayal was pronounced on him “in absentia”, which was later cancelled in 1998 after Abacha’s fall. An intimate and deep poet, subtly restless, a remarkable storyteller by technique and psychology, Soyinka is above all a playwright.
His theatre, sometimes powerfully dramatic, sometimes affected by subtle humour or by violent sarcasm, is related to yoruba tradition in his ability to blend text, music and dance, reality and myth. Soyinka’s style, only apparently realistic, and yet full of symbolic meanings, expresses indignation towards a cruel and desperate world, dominated by man’s stupidity and baseness.
The Interpreters (1979)
Collected Plays 1st vol. (1979) – 2nd vol. (1980)
Season of Anomy (1981)
Akè: The Years of Childhood (1984, 1995, 2012)
The Forest of a Thousand Demons (1985)
The Man Died (1986)
Myth, Literature and the African World (1995)
Isarà: A Voyage around Essay (1996)
Tourists and Boy-soldiers (2000)
The Bacchae of Euripides: a Communion Rite (2002)
Climate of Fear (2005)
The Burden of Memory, The Muse of Forgiveness (2007)
You Must Set Forth at Dawn (2007)