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After 48 years, Wole Soyinka publishes new novel at 86

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Wole Soyinka at 86 will publish a new novel titled ”Chronicles of the Happiest People on
Earth” in November this year. News of the novel has been circulating secretively since Soyinka submitted the typescript to his publishers–BookCraft in Ibadan and Random House in New York– in June this year. Those who are close to the 1986 Nobel Laureate in Literature were expecting a new collection of poems which was in its final stage of editing, only for Soyinka to spring a big surprise with a novel of 524 pages in 23 chapters. Bankole Olayebi, who has been Soyinka’s publisher in Africa since 2016 is very excited about the novel. BookCraft has been rising gracefully to the challenge of publishing and distributing Soyinka’s distinctive books. Indeed, over the years, it has published more than 15 titles by Soyinka most of which are reader-friendly in their layout and packaging.

In his long and very productive career, Wole Soyinka has written many award-winning plays, highly lyrical poems, songs, political and cultural essays, five riveting memoirs, three full length satirical films, and only two high brow novels—”The Interpreters”(published in 1965 by Andre Deutch) and ”Season of Anomy”(published in 1973 by Rex Collings). ”Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth” will be his third published novel.

According to Bankole Olayebi: ”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 of drama, all set against the backdrop of contemporary Nigeria. As you would expect from a Soyinka’s 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.”

Abass Latifat

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