Soyinka, Wole (1934- ) (Study Guide)

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Wole Soyinka Study Guide Wole Soyinka (born Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka in 1934) is Africa`s most distinguished playwright, winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986. A Yoruba, he studied first at the University College of Ibadan, then at Leeds University in England, where he came under the influence of the brilliant Shakespeare scholar G. Wilson Knight. The fifties were a period of great experimentation in the theater, both in France and England, and Soyinka was involved with various productions in Great Britain before returning to Nigeria, having been commissioned to write a play to celebrate that nation`s independence in 1960 (A Dance of the Forests). It was a lyrical blend of Western experimentalism and African folk tradition, reflecting a highly original approach to drama. He has always emphasized his African roots, dubbing his early theater troupe Masks, to acknowledge the role Yoruba pageantry has played in his work. From the beginning he was a political figure, During the Nigerian Civil War he was not sufficiently anti-Biafran to suit the government and was put into solitary confinement for two years, being released only after an intense international campaign. This experience is movingly recounted in his book, A Man Died. He has written many plays, both for the theater and for radio production, poetry, and prose fiction. He was granted the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986. His political stands have earned him--like most other prominent Nigerian writers--exile ...

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