AkÚ 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 IsarÓ, the second volume of his autobiography. AkÚ 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.
"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. AkÚ 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" - New York Times
Wole Soyinka - playwright, novelist, poet and polemical essayist - 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. Soyinka"s career as a political activist in exile is inseparable from his writing which has earned him worldwide acclaim. 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.