Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka

Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright and poet who was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature. A prolific writer, Soyinka has authored 29 plays, two novels, and many memoirs, essays, and poetry collections. After studying and working in the U.K., he became heavily involved in Nigeria’s struggle for independence. In 1965 he seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio to demand the cancellation of rigged regional elections in western Nigeria. During the Nigerian Civil War two years later, he was arrested by the federal government and put in solitary confinement for two years. Since this time, Soyinka has been critical of the successive Nigerian military dictators, centering much of his writing on oppression and tyranny. Soyinka has taught at numerous universities, including Cornell, Emory, Oxford, Harvard, Yale, Obafemi Awolowo, and is currently a Professor in Residence at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. In recent years, Soyinka has been outspoken in his criticism of Boko Haram and the role of religious extremism in Nigeria.