Wole Soyinka, first African to receive Nobel Prize in Literature

First African presented the Nobel Prize in Literature was in 1986

The African was Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian playwright and novelist, was presented with the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1986. In 1958, Soyinka’s first play, “The Swamp Dwellers” produced in London, while still a student at the University of Leeds, in England. Plays he did after that were very critical of African authoritarianism. Soyinka even spent two years in a Nigerian prison for his opposition to the war in Biafra. Then in 1994 he self-exile himself as a way to protest against the Nigerian leadership. The Nigerian government, in March 1997 charged Soyinka with treason.

Additional Information:

  • Wole Soyinka: Biographical
    Wole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 at Abeokuta, near Ibadan in western Nigeria. After preparatory university studies in 1954 at Government College in Ibadan, he continued at the University of Leeds, where, later, in 1973, he took his doctorate.
  • Wole Soyinka: Facts
    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.
  • Wole Soyinka: Nobel Lecture
    Listen to an Audio Recording of Wole Soyinka’s Nobel Lecture*
  • Wole Soyinka: Bibliography
    His works.
  • Wole Soyinka: Banquet Speech
    Wole Soyinka’s speech at the Nobel Banquet, December 10, 1986 | Your Majesties, Ladies and Gentlemen. It was inevitable that the Nordic world and the African, especially that part of it which constitutes the Yoruba world – should meet at the crossroads of Sweden.
  • Wole Soyinka – Wikipedia
    Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Babatunde Soyinka (Yoruba: Akinwándé Oluwo̩lé Babátúndé S̩óyinká, pronounced [wɔlé ʃójĩŋká]; born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian playwright and poet. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature,[2] the first African to be honored in that category.
  • Presidential Lectures: Wole Soyinka: Introduction
    Wole Soyinka is among contemporary Africa’s greatest writers. He is also one of the continent’s most imaginative advocates of native culture and of the humane social order it embodies.
  • Wole Soyinka – Activist, Playwright – Biography.com
    Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, poet, author, teacher and political activist who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.
  • Wole Soyinka – Academy of Achievement
    Akonwande Oluwole “Wole” Soyinka was born in Abeokuta in Western Nigeria. At the time, Nigeria was a Dominion of the British Empire.
  • Wole Soyinka Biography – Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline
    One of Africa’s greatest writers, Wole Soyinka is the first African to be awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. He is regarded as one of the finest poetical playwrights and has been imprisoned countless times for his outspoken views on the Nigerian government.
      December 10th 1986, 1958, 1994, 1997
      Wole Soyinka
      Nigerian playwright and Novelist

Wole Soyinka


      July 13, 1934, Abeokuta, Nigeria
      Folake Doherty-Soyinka (m. 1989)
      Olaokun Soyinka,
      Moremi Soyinka-Onijala,
      Peyibomi Soyinka-Airewele,
      Makin Soyinka,
      Iyetade Apampa


Books and all forms of writing are terror to those who wish to suppress the truth.

The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.

The hand that dips into the bottom of the pot will eat the biggest snail.

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