Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, vol. 136, pages 359-368. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
Wole Soyinka was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria on July 13, 1934. His father was a Christian minister and his mother a marketer. He had two brothers and a sister. He attended Abeokuta Grammar School and then the University of Ibadan. He was a member of the university’s Dramatic Society.
Soyinka’s career began with his first play, The Swamp Dwellers, which was produced in Nigeria in 1959. He has since written over 30 plays, as well as novels, poems, essays, and memoirs. His work has been translated into over 50 languages.
Soyinka was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986, becoming the first African to receive the honor. He has also received the Order of the Niger, the Order of the Star of Ghana, and the Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo.
Soyinka has been married three times and has four children. His first wife was Folake Soyinka, with whom he had a son, Iyunolu Soyinka. His second wife was Olaide Oyelude, with whom he had a daughter, Moremi Soyinka-Onijala. His third wife is Folake Olagunju, with whom he has a son, Olukayode Soyinka, and a daughter, Iyetade Soyinka.
Soyinka is tall and slender, with dark hair and eyes. He is known for his deep, resonant voice.