Wole Soyinka- Nigerian Playwright, Author, Poet, and Essayist ‘Nobel Prize in Literature’

Wole Soyinka- Nigerian Playwright, Author, Poet, and Essayist ‘Nobel Prize in Literature’

Soyinka Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Wole Soyinka (Yoruba: Aknwándé Olwlé Babátndé óyinká; born July 13, 1934) is a Nigerian playwright, author, poet, and essayist who writes in English. His full name is Aknwándé Olwlé Babátndé óyinká. He was the first person from sub-Saharan Africa to be honored in that category. In 1986, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature for “creating the drama of life from a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones.”

Soyinka was born in the city of Abeokuta to a Yoruba family. In 1954, he went to Government College in Ibadan. After that, he went to University College in Ibadan and the University of Leeds in England. After going to school in Nigeria and the UK, he worked at London’s Royal Court Theatre. He went on to write plays that were put on stage and on the radio in both countries.

He was involved in Nigeria’s political past and the fight to get rid of British colonial rule. In 1965, he took over the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service station and said that the Western Nigeria Regional Elections should be called off. During the Nigerian Civil War in 1967, when General Yakubu Gowon was in charge of the central government, he was arrested and put in solitary confinement for two years because he volunteered to be a non-government mediator.

Soyinka has been a strong critic of Nigerian and African governments in general, especially the many military rulers in Nigeria and other political tyrannies like the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. A lot of what he has written has been about “the oppressive boot and the fact that the color of the foot that wears it doesn’t matter.” During the rule of General Sani Abacha (1993–1998), Soyinka left Nigeria on a motorbike via the “NADECO Route.” Later, Abacha said that he had been sentenced to death “in absentia.” Nigeria went back to civilian rule in 1999, and Soyinka went back to his country.

Soyinka taught comparative literature in Nigeria from 1975 to 1999 at what was then called the University of If and is now called Obafemi Awolowo University.When civilian government was put back in place in Nigeria in 1999, he was given the title of professor emeritus. While in the United States, he taught first at Cornell University as the Goldwin Smith Professor of African Studies and Theatre Arts from 1988 to 1991 and then at Emory University, where he was named the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts in 1996. Soyinka has taught creative writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has been a scholar-in-residence at the Institute of African American Affairs at New York University and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.[9][16] He has also taught at Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, and Yale universities. In 2008, he was a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Duke University..

Soyinka won the “Special Prize” for the Europe Theatre Prize in December 2017. This prize is given to someone who has “contributed to the realization of cultural events that promote understanding and the exchange of knowledge between peoples.”

Career Life

Soyinka is a grandson of the rulers of Isara. He was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, the second of his parents’ seven children. At the time, Nigeria was a British colony. Atinuke “Tinu” Aina, Femi Soyinka, Yeside Soyinka, Omofolabo “Folabo” Ajayi-Soyinka, and Kayode Soyinka were his brothers and sisters. Folashade Soyinka, his younger sister, died on her first birthday. His father, Samuel Ayodele Soyinka, who he called “S.A.” or “Essay,” was an Anglican minister and the teacher of St. Peters School in Abokuta. The elder Soyinka had strong family ties.

He was related to the Odemo, or King, of Isara-Remo, Samuel Akinsanya, who was a founding father of Nigeria. Grace Eniola Soyinka (born Jenkins-Harrison), Soyinka’s mother (whom he called the “Wild Christian”), had a shop in the nearby market. She took part in the neighborhood women’s movement as a political activist. Also, she was Anglican. Most of the people in Soyinka’s town followed the indigenous Yorùbá religion, so he grew up in a religious environment that mixed ideas from both cultures. He grew up in a religious home and began going to church and singing in the choir at a young age. However, Soyinka himself stopped believing in God as he got older. Because of his father’s job, he could get power and a radio at home. In his 1981 memoir, Aké: The Years of youth, he talks at length about his youth.

His mother was a well-known member of the powerful Ransome-Kuti family. She was the only daughter of Rev. Canon J. J. Ransome-Kuti’s first daughter, Anne Lape Iyabode Ransome-Kuti. She was a niece to Olusegun Azariah Ransome-Kuti, Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. The singer Fela Kuti, the human rights activist Beko Ransome-Kuti, the politician Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, and the activist Yemisi Ransome-Kuti were all Soyinka’s first cousins once removed. Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, and the dancer Yeni Kuti are all his second cousins. Femi Soyinka, his younger brother, became a doctor and a college professor.

Soyinka went to Abeokuta’s St. Peter’s Primary School from 1935 to 1940. In 1940, he went to Abeokuta Grammar School, where he won several awards for his writing. In 1946, he was accepted into one of Nigeria’s best high schools, Government College in Ibadan.After he finished his course at Government College in 1952, he went to University College Ibadan, which was part of the University of London, and studied there from 1952 to 1954. He learned about English and Greek writing and Western history. British literature scholar Molly Mahood was one of the people who taught him. Soyinka’s second and last year at University College, 1953–54, was when he started working on Keffi’s Birthday Treat, a short radio play for Nigerian Broadcasting Service that aired in July 1954. Soyinka and six other students started the first confraternity in Nigeria when they were in college. The Pyrates Confraternity was a group that worked against graft and for justice.

Later in 1954, Soyinka moved to England. There, he continued to study English literature at the University of Leeds under the guidance of his master, Wilson Knight, from 1954 to 1957. He met a lot of talented young British writers. Soyinka started writing and working as the editor of a satirical magazine called The Eagle before he defended his B.A. degree. He wrote a column about academic life in which he often criticized his university peers.

Early Career

Soyinka stayed in Leeds and started working on an MA after getting a degree with an upper second-class grade. He wanted to write new plays that mixed European theater styles with those from his Yorùbá culture. The Swamp Dwellers, his first big play, came out in 1958. A year later, The Lion and the Jewel, a comedy, caught the attention of several people at London’s Royal Court Theatre. Soyinka was encouraged, so he went to London and got a job as a play reader for the Royal Court Theatre. Both of his shows were put on at the same time in Ibadan. They talked about how growth and tradition don’t get along well in Nigeria.

The first play of his to be put on at the Royal Court Theatre was The Invention in 1957. At that time, the only things he had written were poems like “The Immigrant” and “My Next Door Neighbor” in the Nigerian magazine Black Orpheus. German scholar Ulli Beier, who had been teaching at the University of Ibadan since 1950, started this in 1957.

Soyinka got a Rockefeller Research Fellowship from his old school, University College in Ibadan, to study African theater. He then went back to Nigeria. Soyinka replaced Jahnheinz Jahn as coeditor of the literary magazine Black Orpheus after its fifth issue in November 1959. The magazine’s name comes from Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1948 essay “Orphée Noir,” which was published as a preface to Léopold Senghor’s Anthology of New Black and African Poetry.[40] In April 1960, he wrote The Trials of Brother Jero, a new comedy, in the dining hall of Mellanby Hall at University College Ibadan. That year, his play A Dance of the Forest, which was a harsh critique of Nigeria’s political leaders, won a contest to be the official play for Nigerian Independence Day. On October 1, 1960, when Nigeria got its independence, it was shown for the first time in Lagos. The play makes fun of the young country by showing that the present isn’t any better than the past. Soyinka also started a group of amateur actors called the “1960 Masks” in 1960. He spent a lot of time with this group over the next few years.

Soyinka wrote the first long play that was ever shown on Nigerian TV. The play, called “My Father’s Burden,” was put on by Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) on August 6, 1960. It was directed by Segun Olusola.[43][44] Soyinka wrote satirical works about the “Emergency” in the Western Region of Nigeria as the federal government took over and ruled more and more of his Yorùbá homeland. Political unrest caused by the recent end of colonial rule led to a military coup and a civil war from 1967 to 1970.

Soyinka bought a Land Rover with the money he got from the Rockefeller grant. He then started doing study all over the country for the Department of English Language at the University College in Ibadan. In an article from the time, he said that Leopold Senghor’s Négritude movement was a nostalgic and indiscriminate celebration of the black African past that ignored the possible benefits of modernization. “A tiger doesn’t say he’s a tiger, he pounces,” he is often said to have said. But in a 1960 article for the Horn, Soyinka wrote, “the duiker will not paint “duiker” on his beautiful back to show that he is a duiker. You’ll know him by his elegant leap.”  In Death and the King’s Horsemen, he writes, “The elephant trails no tethering-rope; that king is not yet crowned who will peg an elephant.”

Soyinka’s article “Towards a True Theater” came out in December of 1962. He started teaching in If at Obafemi Awolowo University in the English Language Department. He talked about current events with “négrophiles” and has publicly criticized government censorship on more than one occasion. Culture in Transition, his first full-length movie, came out at the end of 1963. André Deutsch put out his book The Interpreters in London in 1965. It was called “a complex but also vividly documentary novel”

Soyinka started the Drama Association of Nigeria in December of that year. He did this with science and theater people. In 1964, he also quit his job at a university to protest how the government was forcing people to act. A few months later, in 1965, he was arrested for the first time. He was accused of robbing a radio station at gunpoint (as told in his 2006 memoir, You Must Set Forth at Dawn) and replacing a tape of a recorded speech by the premier of Western Nigeria with a different tape that said election fraud had happened. Soyinka was locked up for a few months, but he was let out after writers from all over the world protested.

He wrote the drama Before the Blackout and the comic Kongi’s Harvest in the same year. He also wrote a radio play called “The Detainee” for the BBC in London. His play “The Road” was first shown at the Theatre Royal in London on September 14, 1965, as part of the Commonwealth Arts Festival. At the end of the year, he was given the titles of headmaster and senior professor in the English Language Department at the University of Lagos.

During that time, Soyinka’s political talks criticized the cult of personality and corrupt governments in African dictatorships. Kongi’s Harvest was performed again at the World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, Senegal, in April 1966.[54] The Grand Prix went to The Road. The Trials of Brother Jero was put on at the Hampstead Theatre Club in London in June 1965, and The Lion and the Jewel was put on at the Royal Court Theatre in December 1966.

Civil war and being locked up

Soyinka got more involved in politics after he became Chair of Drama at the University of Ibadan. After the military coup in January 1966, he met with the military governor Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in the town of Enugu in the southeast of the country in August 1967. He did this to try to stop the Nigerian civil war. Because of this, he had to go hide.

He was locked up for 22 months[58] as the Federal government of Nigeria and the Biafrans went to war. Even though he wasn’t allowed to have books, pens, or paper in jail, he still wrote a lot of poems and notes criticizing the Nigerian government.

Even though he was in jail, his play The Lion and the Jewel was put on in September 1967 in Accra, Ghana. In November of that year, the Greenwich Mews Theatre in New York City put on The Trials of Brother Jero and The Strong Breed. Soyinka also put out a book of his poems called Idanre and Other Poems. It was inspired by his trip to the Yorùbá deity Ogun’s temple, which he sees as his “companion” deity, kindred spirit, and guardian.

In 1968, Kongi’s Harvest was put on by the Negro Ensemble Company in New York.[60] Soyinka translated D. O. Fagunwa’s fantastical book The Forest of a Thousand Demons: A Hunter’s Saga from Yoruba while he was still in jail.


Amnesty was declared in October 1969, when the civil war ended, and Soyinka and other political prisoners were set free. Soyinka stayed at a friend’s farm in the south of France for the first few months after he got out of prison. He went there to be alone. The Bacchae of Euripides, which he wrote in 1969, is a retelling of the Pentheus story. Soon after, he put out a book of poems called Poems from Prison in London. He went back to his job as Chair of Drama at Ibadan at the end of the year.

In 1970, he put on the play Kongi’s Harvest and also turned it into a movie with the same name. He finished another play called Madmen and Specialists in June 1970. He took a trip to the United States with 15 players from the Ibadan University Theatre Art Company. They went to the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theatre Center in Waterford, Connecticut, where the first performance of his new play took place. It gave them all a chance to put on a play in an English-speaking country other than their own.

Wole Soyinka, is a Nigerian playwright, poet, writer and essayist , Turin, May 21, 2023. (Photo by Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images)

A Shuttle in the Crypt, a book of his poems, came out in 1971. That year, Madmen and Specialists was put on in Ibadan.Soyinka went to Paris to play Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo who was killed, in a play based on his book Murderous Angels.

Soyinka quit his job at the University of Ibadan in April 1971 because he was worried about the political situation in Nigeria. He then went into voluntary exile for many years. In July, parts of his famous play The Dance of the Forests were shown in Paris.

Oxford University Press released both his novel Season of Anomy and his collection of plays, Collected Plays, in 1972. This was also the year that his powerful autobiography, The Man Died, which was a collection of notes from jail, came out. In 1973, the University of Leeds gave him an Honoris Causa doctorate. In the same year, Euripides’s play The Bacchae was commissioned by the National Theatre in London and put on for the first time. Camwood on the Leaves and Jero’s Metamorphosis were also released for the first time. Soyinka spent time studying science from 1973 to 1975. He was a visiting fellow at Cambridge University’s Churchill College for a year. Between 1973 and 1974, he wrote Death and the King’s Horseman, which Dapo Ladimeji and Skip Gates heard for the first time at Churchill College. He also gave a series of lectures at a number of European universities.

The second volume of his collected plays came out in 1974 from Oxford University Press. In 1975, Soyinka was made editor of the magazine Transition, which was based in Accra, the city of Ghana, where he lived for a while. In his columns for Transition, like “Neo-Tarzanianism: The Poetics of Pseudo-Transition,” he criticized “negrophiles” and military governments. He spoke out against Idi Amin’s military government in Uganda. After Nigeria’s government changed and Gowon’s military rule was overthrown in 1975, Soyinka went back to his home country and took back his job as Chair of Comparative Literature at the University of Ife.

In 1976, he released both Ogun Abibiman, a book of poems, and Myth, Literature, and the African World, a book of essays.[69] Soyinka uses examples from both European and African literature to compare and contrast the two societies and talk about where mysticism came from in African theater. He gave a number of guest talks at the University of Ghana in Legon’s Institute of African Studies. In October, the French version of “The Dance of the Forests” was played in Dakar, and “Death and the King’s Horseman” was shown for the first time in Ife.

In 1977, Opera Wnysi, his version of The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht, was performed in Ibadan. In 1979, he both directed and starred in The Biko Inquest, a play by Jon Blair and Norman Fenton that was based on the life of South African student and human rights activist Steve Biko, who was killed by apartheid police.[14] Soyinka’s autobiography, Aké: The Years of Childhood, came out in 1981. It won the 1983 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

The Guerrilla Unit is another theater group that Soyinka started. Its goal was to work with local communities to figure out what was wrong and put some of their complaints on stage. At the University of Ife in 1983, his play Requiem for a Futurologist was shown for the first time. In July, one of his musical projects, the Unlimited Liability Company, put out a long-playing record called I Love My Country. It had songs by Soyinka that were played by well-known Nigerian artists. In 1984, the movie Blues for a Prodigal, which he directed, was shown at the University of Ife. The same year, he put out A Play of Giants.

Soyinka was more involved in politics between the years 1975 and 1984. At the University of Ife, one of his management jobs was to make sure that public roads were safe. He said that the government of President Shehu Shagari, who was chosen by the people, was corrupt. Soyinka was often at odds with the military after he was replaced by the army general Muhammadu Buhari. In 1984, a court in Nigeria banned his book The Man Died: Prison Notes, which was written in 1972. Rex Collings released his play Requiem for a Futurologist in London in 1984.

From 1986

Soyinka was the first person from Africa to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. This happened in 1986. He was called someone “who shapes the drama of life with a broad cultural perspective and poetic overtones.” Reed Way Dasenbrock says that giving Soyinka the Nobel Prize in Literature is “likely to cause a lot of controversy and is well-deserved.” He also says that “it is the first time the Nobel Prize has been given to an African writer or to any writer from the “new literatures” in English that have developed in the former colonies of the British Empire.” In his Nobel victory speech, “This Past Must Address Its Present,” he talked about Nelson Mandela, who fought for freedom in South Africa. Soyinka’s speech was a direct attack on apartheid and the policies of racial division that the National South African government forced on the majority. In 1986, he won an award for literature called the Agip Prize.

Mandela’s Earth, and Other Poems, a collection of his poems, came out in 1988. In the same year, Art, Dialogue, and Outrage: writings on Literature and Culture, a collection of his writings, came out in Nigeria. Soyinka became a professor of African studies and theater at Cornell University in the same year. The intellectual circle of his father prompted his third book, sarà: A Voyage Around Essay, which came out in 1989. In July 1991, his radio play A Scourge of Hyacinths was broadcast by the BBC African Service. The following year, his play From Zia with Love was first performed in Siena, Italy. Both works are political sketches that are based on things that happened in Nigeria in the 1980s and are very harsh. Soyinka got an honors doctorate from Harvard University in the year 1993. Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years (A Memoir: 1946–1965), another part of his book, came out the following year. His play The Beatification of Area Boy came out the following year. In October 1994, he was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of speech, media, and communication.

Soyinka ran away from Nigeria in November 1994, crossing the border into Benin and then going to the United States. His book The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Account of the Nigerian Crisis came out for the first time in 1996. In 1997, the government of General Sani Abacha accused him of treason. In 1993, the International Parliament of Writers (IPW) was created to help writers who were being persecuted. Soyinka was the second head of the group from 1997 to 2000. Outsiders, a new collection of poems by Soyinka, came out in 1999. In the same year, BBC Radio 3 aired a play called Document of Identity. It was based on his daughter’s family’s problems when they stopped in Britain on their way from Nigeria to the United States in 1996. Her son, Oseoba Airewele, was born in Luton and is now a stateless person.

Soyinka’s play King Baabu was first performed in Lagos in 2001. It is a political comedy about African dictatorship, and it was first seen there. Methuen released a book of his poems in 2002. It was called Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known. Random House came out with his autobiography, You Must Set Forth at Dawn, in April of 2006. In 2006, he didn’t give the main speech at the annual S.E.A. Write Awards Ceremony in Bangkok because he didn’t like how the Thai military had taken over the government.

In April 2007, Soyinka called for the Nigerian presidential polls, which had been held two weeks earlier but were full of fraud and violence, to be called off. In the wake of the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight to the U.S. by a Nigerian student who had become radicalized in Britain, Soyinka questioned the British government’s social logic in allowing every religion to openly proselytize their faith. He said that religious fundamentalists were abusing this right, which was turning England into, in his opinion, a cesspit for the growth of extremism. He supported the right to worship, but he warned about what would happen if religions were allowed to preach about the end of the world and violence.

In August 2014, Soyinka gave a tape of his speech “From Chibok with Love” at the World Humanist Congress in Oxford, which was put on by the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the British Humanist Association. Freedom of thought and speech: Building an enlightened 21st century was the theme of the Congress. The 2014 International Humanist Award was given to him. He was a resident scientist at the Institute of African American Affairs at NYU.

Soyinka is against letting Fulani herdsmen graze their cattle on open land in the southern part of Nigeria, which is mostly Christian. He thinks that these herders should be labeled terrorists so that their movements can be limited.

Soyinka said in December 2020 that 2020 was the most difficult year in the country’s history. He said, “With the turmoil that characterized the year 2020, and as things wind down, the mood has been tense and very negative. I don’t want to sound negative, but this is one of the worst years I can remember in this country, and not just because of COVID-19. There have been natural tragedies in other places, but how have you been able to handle them?”

Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, Soyinka’s first novel in almost 50 years, came out in September 2021. The Financial Times called it “a brutally satirical look at power and corruption in Nigeria, told in the form of a whodunnit involving three university friends.” In a review of the book for The Guardian, Ben Okri said, “It is Soyinka’s greatest novel, his revenge against the madness of the nation’s ruling class, and one of the most shocking histories of an African country in the 21st century.” It should be read by many people.”

Soyinka’s 1975 stage play Death And The King’s Horseman was turned into a movie by Biyi Bandele. The movie, called Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman, was co-produced by Netflix and Ebonylife TV and opened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2022. It is the first of Soyinka’s works to be turned into a full-length movie, and it is also the first Yoruba-language film to be shown at TIFF.

Personal Life

Soyinka has been divorced twice and married three times. He has eight sons and two girls from his three marriages. In 1958, he married the late British writer Barbara Dixon, whom he met at the University of Leeds in the 1950s. Barbara was the mother of Olaokun, his first son, and Morenike, his first daughter. In 1963, he married a Nigerian librarian named Olaide Idowu.  He had three girls with her named Moremi, Iyetade (1965–2013), and Peyibomi. He also had a second son named Ilemakin. Amani is Soyinka’s youngest daughter. Soyinka married Folake Doherty in 1989, and they have three sons: Tunlewa, Bojode, and Eniara.

In 2014, Soyinka said that he was going through treatment for prostate cancer.

Soyinka has said about his close friendships with Toni Morrison and Henry Louis Gates Jr., “Friendship, to me, is what saves one’s sanity.”


At a public reading of his two-volume collection of writings on Sunday, November 20, 2022, Soyinka said about religion:

“Do I really need to have one? I never thought I needed one. I study myths for a living. No, I don’t pray to any gods. But I think of gods as artistically real and, because of that, I travel with them in both the real world and the world of my imagination. Around July 2023, the literary master got a lot of bad press after writing an open letter to the Emir of Ilorin about the cancellation of the Isese fair, which had been suggested by an Osun priestess named Yeye Ajesikemi.

History and awards

The Wole Soyinka Annual Lecture Series has been going on since 1994. It is “dedicated to honoring Professor Wole Soyinka, one of Nigeria’s and Africa’s most outstanding and long-lasting literary icons.” It is put on by the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity), which Soyinka and six other students at what was then University College Ibadan started in 1952.

In 2011, the African Heritage Research Library and Cultural Centre built a writers’ area in his honor. It is in the village of Adeyipo in the Lagelu Local Government Area of Ibadan in the Nigerian state of Oyo. The area has a Writer-in-Residence Program that gives writers a place to stay for two, three, or six months while they work on serious creative writing. As the UNESCO representative for the Naija Seven Wonders project, he went to the Benin Moat in 2013. He is the adviser for the Lagos Black Heritage Festival right now. The Lagos State thought that he was the only person who could explain to the people what the Festival’s goals and aims were. In 2020, Humanists UK chose him to be one of its patrons.

In 2014, the collection Crucible of the Ages: Essays in Honour of Wole Soyinka at 80, edited by Ivor Agyeman-Duah and Ogochwuku Promise, was published by Bookcraft in Nigeria and Ayebia Clarke Publishing in the UK, with tributes and contributions from Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Margaret Busby, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ali Mazrui, Sefi Atta, and others.

In 2018, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. tweeted that Nigerian filmmaker and writer Onyeka Nwelue had come to meet him at Harvard and was making a documentary film about Wole Soyinka. As part of the celebrations for Wole Soyinka’s 84th birthday, Onyeka Nwelue and Odega Shawa put together a book of poems called 84 Delicious Bottles of Wine. Adamu Usman Garko, a teen who has won awards for his essays, poetry, and writing, was one of the important participants.

1973: Honorary D.Litt. from the University of Leeds

Overseas Fellow at Churchill College in Cambridge from 1973 to 1974

Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (Hon. FRSL) since 1983.

1983: United States Anisfield-Wolf Book Award

1986: Literature Nobel Prize

1986: The Agip Prize for Literature

Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 1986.

The Royal Society of Literature gave him the Benson Medal in 1990.

1993: Harvard University gave him an honorary doctorate

Honorary fellowship at SOAS in 2002.

2005: Princeton University gave me an honorary doctorate.

In 2005, the Oba Alake of the Egba clan of Yorubaland made him the chief of the Akinlatun of Egbaland. This made Soyinka a tribal noble, and he was given the right to use the Yoruba term Oloye as a pre-nominal honorific.

2009: Awards Council member Archbishop Desmond Tutu gives the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement at an event at St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa.

United States, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2013.

The International Humanist Award will be given in 2014.

2017: Becomes a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa

“Special Prize” of the Europe Theatre Prize in 2017

In 2018, the arts theater at the University of Ibadan got a new name: Wole Soyinka Theatre.

Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), 2018: Honorary Doctorate Degree of Letters.

2022: Degree of Honor from Cambridge University: A degree that is given to people who have done extraordinary things in their areas.

Prize for European Theater

In Rome, Italy, in 2017, he won the Special Prize of the Europe Theatre Prize. The group behind the Prize said:

Wole Soyinka, a writer, actor, and poet who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986, is given a special prize because his work has been able to build an ideal bridge between Europe and Africa. Wole Soyinka’s art and dedication have helped revitalize African culture. He has been an active part of the dialogue between Africa and Europe, writing about more and more important political issues and bringing richness and beauty to English literature, theater, and action in Europe and all over the world.


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