Lockdown exhumed a lot of skills and talents; which gave birth to different thoughts, innovations and a lot of people needed ways to survive the pandemic and keep their hopes alive. Professor Wole Soyinka, who has been on what we call a resting period, is in this category; he has used this lockdown period to unearth his writing skills once again, as he has announced the release of a new novel.
The writer, activist and political critic, was the first African to win the Nobel prize for literature in the year 1986. In the recent times, he has been very critical about happenings within Nigerian politics and Africa in general.
The lockdown inspired novel, Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth, is the third novel by the prolific writer. The book is set to be released on December 1, 2020.
Soyinka’s publisher, Bookcraft, speaks highly of the novel, according to The Guardian. “This novel has got everything – friendship and betrayal; faith and treachery; hope and cynicism; murder, mayhem and no shortage of drama; all set against the backdrop of contemporary Nigeria,” said the publisher.
“As you would expect from a Soyinka work, it’s got plenty of colourful characters, profound insights, witty commentary, and the most elegant language.”
In an interview with This is Lagos, Soyinka revealed that the lockdown period did not suppress his creativity, rather it enabled him to produce a new novel and engage in theatrical works yet again; as he is set to co-direct a revival of his play ‘Death and the King’s Horseman; a play he wrote in the 1970s, which was based on a real incident that took place in Nigeria during the British colonial rule: the horseman of a Yoruba King was prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities.
Soyinka is known to be extra creative when in a confined location. During his stay in the prison, his writing became excessively loud; and his books were published. In prison, despite the lack of writing materials; he was able to produce a significant body of poems and notes, criticizing the Nigerian government. Some of his works, including The Lion and The Jewel, The Trials of Brother Jero and The Strong Breed; were produced in Ghana and New York.
Soyinka’s writings has been and is still a reflection of the happenings in the social, cultural and political life of Africans and the world at large.