- Category: TOW 2011
Prolific novelist and playwright, BIYI BANDELE, was born in 1967 to Yoruba parents in Kafanchan, northern Nigeria. He studied Drama at the University of Ile-Ife from 1987-1990 and was a Judith E.Wilson Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, from 2000-2002.
With his literary talent spread across myriad platforms of creative expression, including journalism, theatre, film, radio and television, Bandele has earned recognition as one of the most versatile of contemporary UK-based Nigerian writers.
Bandele left his parent’s house at the age of 14 to earn his living doing odd jobs. During this time, he was also going to school and writing his first novel, The Man Who Came In From The Back of Beyond (1991). This novel and his later book, The Street (1999), offer rewarding reading, capable of wild surrealism and wit as well as political engagement.
Just as Bandele’s career as a novelist began in the early stages of his life, his playwriting talent was similarly recognized early in his life, as demonstrated in his achievement as winner of the International Student Playscript competition in 1989. Before this, Bandele received a scholarship to stay in London for his play Rain (1988). Bandele then went on to claim the 1990 British Council Lagos Award for an unpublished collection of poems.
Bandele’s plays include Marching for Fausa (1993), Resurrections in the Season of the Longest Drought (1994) and Two Horsemen (1994) which was selected as Best New Play at the 1994 London New Plays Festival. He has won various other awards.
Not only has Bandele worked with the established Royal Court Theatre and the eminent Royal Shakespeare Company, but his adaptation of what is considered to be the most widely read book in African literature, Things Fall Apart by award-winning fellow Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe – locates him as a discernible, literary presence on the post-colonial stage.
Brixton Stories/Happy Birthday, Mister Deka Methuen, 2001
The Street, Picador, 1999
Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (play adaptation), 1999
Two Horsemen, Amber Lane Press, 1994
Resurrections in the Season of the Longest Drought, Amber Lane Press, 1994
Marching for Fausa, Amber Lane Press, 1993
The Man Who Came In From the Back of Beyond,Bellew, 1991
The Sympathetic Undertaker: and Other Dreams,Bellew, 1991