Ken Saro-Wiwa - Life Stories, Books, and Links
Biographical Information

Stories about Ken Saro-Wiwa

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

Recommended links
Picture of Ken Saro-Wiwa, playwright, and environmental and human rights activist.
Ken Saro-Wiwa   (1941 - 1995)
Category:  Nigerian Literature
Born:  October 10, 1941
Bori, Rivers State, Nigeria
Died:  November 10, 1995
Related authors:
Frantz Fanon, James Baldwin, Richard Wright
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Ken Saro-Wiwa - LIFE STORIES
10/6/1921     PEN, Djaout, Saro-Wiwa
On this day in 1921 the first branch of PEN, the now worldwide writers' organization, was founded. Their campaign for freedom of expression is inspired by these lines from the assassinated Algerian writer, Tahar Djaout:
    Silence is death. / If you are silent you are dead, / And if you speak you are dead, / So speak and die.
11/10/1995     Ken Saro-Wiwa, Father & Son
On this day in 1995 Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others were executed by the Nigerian government -- officially for murder, unofficially for naming too many names in the nation's "lootocracy." Saro-Wiwa campaigned for his causes on all fronts and in all genres; though now a martyr to many, his son's recent memoir says that living In the Shadow of a Saint (Ken Wiwa, 2000) was not easy.
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A Forest of Flowers
short stories
A Month and a Day: A Detention Diary
In the Shadow of a Saint: A Son's Journey to Understand His Father's Legacy
Sozaboy: A Novel in Rotten English
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Before I Am Hanged: Ken Saro-Wiwa, Literature, Politics, and Dissent
by Onookome Okome (Editor)
biography, essays
Ken Saro-Wiwa: A Bio-Critical Study
by Femi Ojo-Ade
biography, analysis and criticism
Ken Saro-Wiwa: Writer and Political Activist
by Craig W. McLuckie (Editor), Aubrey McPhail (Editor)
Ogoni's Agonies: Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Crisis in Nigeria
by Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah (Editor)
The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis
by Wole Soyinka
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Contemporary Postcolonial and Postimperial Literature in English
Find a short biography and large collection of essays and commentary on topics including theme and subject, genre, seting, imagery, and symbollism. Examined works include A Forest of Flowers, Anthills of the Savannah, Sozaboy, The Divorcee, Home Sweet Home, and Robert and the Dog. Supplementary resources on literary relations, and African history, politics, and religion are also provided. Highly recommended.

'What Paris is to Balzac, and Dublin is to James Joyce, Dukana is to Ken Saro-Wiwa.' Dukana is the all-important semi-mythical town of the Khana people of the Niger Delta, whose governmental administration is called BOLGA (Bori Local Government Area of Rivers State of Nigeria)...."
Find a selection of resources from the mid-1990s about Saro-Wiwa and the Nigerian oil scandal. Includes the full text of Saro-Wiwa's closing statement to the military-appointed tribunal that ordered his execution:

"We all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas. Appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a richly endowed land, distressed by their political marginilization and economic strangulation, angered by the devestation of their land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and to a decent living, and determined to usher to this country as a whole a fair and just democratic system which protects everyone and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human civilization, I have devoted my intellectual and material resources, my very life, to a cause in which I have total belief and from which I cannot be blackmailed or intimidated. I have no doubt at all about the ultimate success of my cause, no matter the trials and tribulations which I and those who believe with me may encounter on our journey. Nor imprisonment nor death can stop our ultimate victory...."
PBS: The New Americans
The online resource for students (grades 7-12) is a supplement to a PBS mini-series that explores the lives and experiences of recent immigrants to the United States. It features a Saro-Wiwa biography, timeline of events in the Ogoni Struggle, and an April 2000 interview with Nigerian pro-democracy activist Omoyele Sowore:

"We embarked on a series of protests, including a five million man march. We gained new people in the movement, but we had to go underground. Everybody who saw me said, 'You're living on borrowed time.' They were killing important people--and who was I? I had to disguise myself as a Muslim cleric just to go through the streets. Sometimes I'd be coming home and they'd switch off the lights on my street, so I knew they were coming for me, and would go back to sleep under a bridge...."
Saro-Wiwa: "The War Against the Ogoni"
A 1992 essay by Saro-Wiwa reviews the case against the Nigerian government and the Shell oil company:

"Petroleum was discovered in Ogoni in 1958, and since then an estimated 100 billion US dollars worth of oil and gas has been carted away from Ogoni land. In return for this, the Ogoni people have received nothing. The exploitation has turned Ogoni into a wasteland: lands, streams and crooks are totally and continually polluted;the atmosphere has been poisoned, charged as it is with a hydocarbon vapours, methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and soot emitted by gas which has been flared 24 hours a day for 33 years in very close proximity to human habitation. Acid rain, oil spillage and oil blow-outs have devastated the Ogoni territory. High-pressure oil pipelines crisscross the surface of Ogoni farmlands and villages dangerously. ... The extermination of the Ogoni people appears to be policy."
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March 18, 2018
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