Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka (Yoruba: Akínwándé Olúwọlé Babátúndé Ṣóyíinká; born 13 July 1934), known as Wole Soyinka (pronounced [wɔlé ʃójĩnká]), is a Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist in the English language.
He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, the first sub-Saharan African to be honoured in that category.
Soyinka was born into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta.
In 1954, he attended Government College in Ibadan, and subsequently University College Ibadan and the University of Leeds in England.
After studying in Nigeria and the UK, he worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London.
He went on to write plays that were produced in both countries, in theatres and on radio.
He took an active role in Nigeria’s political history and its campaign for independence from British colonial rule.
In 1965, he seized the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service studio and broadcast a demand for the cancellation of the Western Nigeria Regional Elections.
In 1967, during the Nigerian Civil War, he was arrested by the federal government of General Yakubu Gowon and put in solitary confinement for two years, for volunteering to be a non-government mediating actor.