A new novel from Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, is expected in November after fifty years. The new novel which is titled ‘Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth’ is reported to have been written in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown. Soyinka said that the coronavirus lockdown helped inspired his new writing as well as theatrical work for which he intends to co-direct a revival of his magnum opus, ‘Death of the King’s Horseman’ in December:
‘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.’
Soyinka is reported to have submitted the manuscript to his publishers, BookCraft and Random House, in Ibadan and New York respectively in the month of June. The novel is said to contain 23 chapters with 524 pages.
Bankole who has been publishing for Soyinka since 2016 describes the novel as ‘a narrative tour de force’; that is, one that combines Wole Soyinka’s writing prowess and textual dexterity.
Bankole further gives an overview of the novel as one that centres around themes which include ‘friendship and betrayal, faith and treachery, hope and cynicism, murder; mayhem and no shortage of drama all set against the backdrop of contemporary Nigeria.’
Describing what to expect in the new novel, ‘Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth’, Bankole averred that,
‘…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.’
We anticipate what this new novel holds especially from a veteran writer who has made a full circle by writing poetry, fiction, drama, songs, documentaries, political discourses, and curated visual arts projects.