The Nobel Prize in Literature 1986
Born: 13 July 1934, Abeokuta, Nigeria
Residence at the time of the award: Nigeria
Prize motivation: “who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence”
Prize share: 1/1
Wole Soyinka was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria. His father was a priest in the Anglican Church and principal of a school. His mother owned a store and was active within the women's liberation movement. His family belongs to the Yoruba people, whose culture has influenced Soyinka's works. After studying in Nigeria and the UK, Soyinka worked at a theatre in London. His pointed criticism of Nigerian political regimes has contributed to his living mostly abroad, primarily in the US, where he has held professorships at several universities. Soyinka has six children.
Wole Soyinka is best known as a playwright. Alongside his literary career, he has also worked as an actor and in theaters in Nigeria and Great Britain. His works also include poetry, novels, and essays. Soyinka writes in English, but his works are rooted in his native Nigeria and the Yoruba culture, with its legends, tales, and traditions. His writing also includes influences from Western traditions—from classical tragedies to modernist drama.
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