Wole Soyinka

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Date of Birth July 13, 1934
Place of Birth Abeokuta, Nigeria
Age 86 years old
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Wole Soyinka

Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, known as Wole Soyinka, is a Nigerian playwright, poet and essayist. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first African to be honoured in that category. Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta. In 1954, he attended Government College in Ibadan, and subsequently University College Ibadan and the University of Leeds in England. After studying in Nigeria and the UK, he worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London. He went on to write plays that were produced in both countries, in theatres and on radio. He took an active role in Nigeria's political history and its struggle for independence from Great Britain. In 1965, he seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western Nigeria Regional Elections. In 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was arrested by the federal government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for two years.

Born: Akínwándé Olúwolé Babátúndé Sóyíinká, July 13, 1934, Abeokuta, Nigeria Protectorate (now Ogun State, Nigeria)
Occupation: Author, poet, playwright
Nationality: Nigerian
Education: Abeokuta Grammar School, University of Leeds
Period: 1957–present
Genre: Drama, novel, poetry
Subject: Comparative literature
Notable awards: Nobel Prize in Literature, 1986, Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award, 2009, mo
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About Wole Soyinka

The first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, he wrote A Dance of The Forests and the poetry collection The Ballad of the Landlord.

Before Fame

He won several prizes for his writing while at Abẹokuta Grammar School and studied at University College in Ibadan from 1952-54.


He was imprisoned for 22 months during a civil war in Nigeria and wrote a significant amount of material criticizing the Nigerian government during that time.

Family Life

His father Samuel was an Anglican minister. He married Folake Doherty-Soyinka in 1989 and he has five children.


He dedicated his Nobel Prize to South African freedom-fighter Nelson Mandela in his acceptance speech in 1986.

Information related to Wole Soyinka

  • Nigerian literature - Nigerian literature is the literature of Nigeria which is written by Nigerians, for Nigerians and addresses Nigerian issues. It is written in English, Igbo, Urhobo, Yoruba, Hausa, and the other languages of the country.
  • Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa - Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa is a pan-African writing prize awarded biennially to the best literary work produced by an African.
  • Nigerian philosophers
  • Nigerian prisoners and detainees
  • Yoruba poets
  • Commanders of the Order of the Federal Republic
  • Government College, Ibadan alumni
  • Ransome-Kuti family
  • Yoruba dramatists and playwrights
  • Nigerian speculative fiction writers
  • Prisoners and detainees of Nigeria
  • Writers from Abeokuta
  • Yoruba–English translators
  • Yoruba writers
  • English-language writers from Nigeria
  • Loyola Marymount University faculty
  • Nigerian dramatists and playwrights
  • Former Anglicans
  • Obafemi Awolowo University faculty
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas faculty
  • Nigerian Civil War prisoners of war
  • Nigerian atheists
  • Nigerian essayists
  • Yoruba novelists
  • Nigerian expatriate academics in the United States
  • University of Lagos faculty
  • Fellows of Churchill College, Cambridge
  • Nigerian expatriates in the United Kingdom
  • Nobel laureates in Literature
  • 21st-century dramatists and playwrights
  • Yoruba academics
  • University of Ibadan alumni
  • Emory University faculty
  • Nigerian academics
  • Political philosophers
  • 21st-century essayists
  • Academics of the University of Oxford
  • Cancer survivors
  • Alumni of the University of Leeds
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Latest information about Wole Soyinka updated on December 01, 2020.

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