Ake by Wole Soyinka


Soyinka, Wole

10/07/2014 | Paperback |

ISBN: 9780413777256

About Ake by Wole Soyinka

'A beautifully drawn picture ... that will surely number among the classics of childhood' Evening Standard

Aké is the first volume of Wole Soyinka's acclaimed series of autobiographical works.

This vivid, exuberant book is Soyinka's record of his childhood in colonial Nigeria. In rich and evocative prose he tells the tales of his schooldays and adventures in a captivating narrative, sometimes recollecting fears and dangers but always sensitive to the surprises of childhood life. His days were full of discoveries, excitements, the presence of spirits and the tribal rituals of his colourful family - including his father whom Soyinka portrays in Isarà, the second volume of his autobiography. Aké ends with Soyinka about to go to college at the age of eleven and enter a new world of responsibility and wider horizons as his remarkable childhood comes to an end.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Aké please email sales@methuen.co.uk or cashsales@tbs-ltd.co.uk for further information. Thank you.


Wole Soyinka


Wole Soyinka - playwright, novelist, poet and polemical essayist - was born in Nigeria in 1934. He was educated at Government College, Ibadan and then at Leeds University, and worked in the British theatre before returning to Nigeria in 1960.


Soyinka's career as a political activist in exile is inseparable from his writing which has earned him worldwide acclaim. Soyinka's numerous plays include The Road, The Lion and the Jewel, Death and the King's Horseman and many others. His earlier prose work The Interpreters was awarded the Jock Campbell Prize for Commonwealth Literature. His collections of poetry include Idanre and Other Poems (1967) and A Shuttle in the Crypt (1972) were composed during a period of over two years in prison without trial, most of it in solitary confinement. He has also written two earlier autobiographical volumes, Ake: The Years of Childhood and Isara: A Voyage Around Essay, published in 1981 and 1990 respectively. In 1988 his collection of essays on literature and culture Art, Dialogue and Outrage was published.


He received a New Statesman John Whiting Award for 1966-7 and was Overseas Fellow at Churchill College Cambridge in 1973-4 where he wrote Death and the King's Horseman. He has been awarded the George Benson Medal for the Royal Society of Literature and the Unesco medal for the Arts. In 1986 he became the first African writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is currently Woodruff Professor of the Arts, Emory University, Atlanta.




'What if V. S. Naipaul were a happy man? What if V. S. Pritchett had loved his parents? What if Vladimir Nabokov had grown up in a small town in Western Nigeria and decided that politics were not unworthy of him? I do not take or drop these names in vain. Wole Soyinka belongs in their company. It is a company of children who grow up without forgetting anything, children who grow up in a garden of too many cultures. Aké locates the lost child in all of us, underneath language, inside sound and smell, wide-eyed, brave and flummoxed. What Waugh made fun of and Proust felt bad about, Mr Soyinka celebrates... Brilliant'

The New York Times



'A superb act of remembrance ... dazzling reading. Aké has an enchanting effect ... Soyinka's memoir makes everything seem wondrous'

Village Voice



'A beautifully drawn picture of childhood ... by a writer whose sense of the comic and tragic have combined once more to make a major contribution to contemporary English literature that will surely number among the classics of childhood'

Evening Standard



'A joyous celebration of childhood that is neither sentimental nor clichéd'





The Observer

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