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Wole Soyinka was born in Nigeria in 1934. Educated there and at Leeds University, he worked in the British theatre before returning to West Africa in 1960. In 1986 he became the first African writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. In 1984, two years after writing his childhood autobiography, "Ake", he opened a tin box that had belonged to his father, a schoolteacher during Nigeria's colonial period. The simple contents of that box provide the fuel for "Isara", the second instalment of Soyinka's memoirs. Both books are contained in this single volume. "Ake" evokes an African childhood, full of wry and poignant episodes which vary from a child's response to a sibling's death, to attempts to make sense of adult contradictions. "Isara" is a fictionalized memoir of his father, in which personal, social and political history merge. It portrays a generation's search for identity and self-definition in the face of change.
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