Wole Soyinka

By Staff

Soyinka is an iconic figure who, in 1986, became the first black (and first African) Nobel laureate in literature. Outspoken against government oppression in his native Nigeria (like his cousin Fela Kuti), he has been imprisoned, exiled, and sentenced to death for treason. He is the best-known playwright from the continent. His plays include Death and the King’s Horseman, an exploration of morality, human weakness, and pomposity within the performance of sacrificial rituals. Some of his most important writing, such as Aké: The Years of Childhood and his prison memoir The Man Died, is autobiographical.

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