Wole Soyinka Chronicles Happiest People On Earth With First Novel in 48 Years

by Yinka Akanbi

… Plans to co-direct Death and the King’s Horseman in December

The Nigerian literary scene is excited as the news broke on Wednesday.
Forty-eight years after his last novel was published, renowned Nigerian littérateur and Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, is set to release his newest novel to the delight of readers, according to ‘This is Lagos’ news platform which broke the story before other information and comments followed in Lagos literary circles and social media.

The respected playwright who is famous for his plays and poetry, has authored two novels – ‘The Interpreters’ (1964) and ‘The Season of Anomy’ (1972). He also has to his credit an array of plays and rich memoirs.

The latest novel, titled ‘Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth’, his third, is set for publication before the year runs out, first in Nigeria and later next year in the United States, United Kingdom and other regions.

Bookcraft, the book’s publishers, described the 524-page novel saying:

“After decades of jousting with the powers that be and living to tell the tale, Wole Soyinka has returned to his roots: storytelling. And thought it’s been nearly 40 years after his last work of prose fiction, Wole Soyinka proves with this novel that he has lost none of his story-telling chops! A narrative tour de force, 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.
“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 Soyinka’s expert hands, the apparently disparate strands are woven together with a master story teller’s aplomb.

“Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth” is a great and unputdownable read from start to finish.”

The book and other writings, are said to be products of the five-month lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the Covid19.
The 86-year-old playwright also plans to co-direct his 1975 play, ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’ at theTerra Kulture Arena in Lagos this December.

He was quoted as saying: “You just find yourself literally rolling from your desk to your bed to the dining table, back to the desk for five months of continuous writing. At the end of that exercise, when you finish that book, you will want to stretch your mind in a different direction. So, with a combination of circumstances, it occurred to me that, wait a minute, it might not be a bad idea to do a production. I haven’t done one for about three years since I directed ‘Beatification of Area Boy’ at Freedom Park.”

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