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Voix éthniques, ethnic voices. Volume 2

Claudine Raynaud

Bibliography of Ken Saro-Wiwa's works

Chantal Zabus

Texte intégral


1Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa was born in Bori in Rivers State, Nigeria, on 10 October 1941. The son of Chief J. B. Wiwa, a pensioner and businessman, and of Widu Wiwa, a trader and farmer, Ken grew up in Bori where he attended the Native Authority School until 1954. He then moved on to Umuahia Government College, which has turned out such famous Nigerian writers as Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, I.N.C. Aniebo, Grabriel Okara, Vincent Ike, and the late Okigbo. There Saro-Wiwa reaped a harvest of distinctions as well as school prizes in English. This achievment set the stage for his subsequent studies at University College, Ibadan, where he graduated with Honours in 1965. He pursued a second degree in Drama but soon abandoned it. He was later to take part in e the Second BBC African Service Competition (October 1971) and came joint fourth in the assessment of the jury, consisting of the Novel-Prize winner Wole Soyinka, Martin Esslin and Lewis Nkosi.

2A responsible College Prefect and an able cricket and soccer player, Saro-Wiwa's leadership qualities were best revealed during his presidency of the University of Ibadan Dramatic Society (1964-65) and his editorship of two magazines, 'The Mellanbite' and "The Horizon" (1963-65), while performing with Geoffrey Axworthy's University Travelling Theatre.

3After teaching for some five years in Umuahia, Port Harcourt, Nsukka and Lagos, Saro-Wiwa's career took another turn in 1968, when he became the Civilian Administrator for Bonny in the then newly created rivers State and therefore saw the Biafran Civil War from very close quarters. He later became Commissioner and Member of the Executive Council and worked in private business and, in turn, for the Ministry of Works, Land and Transport; for the Ministry of Education; and for the Ministry of Information and Home Affairs until 1973, when he became the Managing Director of Saros International Ltd. This company, which grouped Merchants, Property Developers and Publishers, yielded profits which Saro-Wiwa ploughed into real estate. While marshalling all these activities single-handedly in Port Harcourt, he took up in 1987 the directorship of the Nigerian newsprint Manufacturing Company and became in 1989 the President of the Central Union of Ogoni, his original ethnic group's homeland.

4A self-made man who quickly grasped the callisthenics of publishing his own poetry (e.g. Songs in a Time of War, 1985), short stories (e.g. A Forest of Flowers, 1986), children's books and his own novels (the best-known in academic circles being Sozaboy: A Novel Written in Rotten English, 1985), Saro-Wiwa is best-known in Nigeria for his radio and television plays and especially for the highly successful Basi and Company TV programme, which so far comprises 80 episodes, all written and produced by himself.

5A fully-fledged member of the Ogoni ethnic group and a fluent speaker of Khana, Ken Saro-Wiwa has a vast international and cosmopolitan culture, having visited 42 countries in North America, South America, the West Indies, Africa, Europe and the Far East. Married to Maria Kpugisi and the father of "several children", he now lives in Port Harcourt, the linguistic and cultural crucible of Eastern Nigeria most commensurate with his multi-lingual and multi-talented personality.



Primary Sources

The Transistor Radio. In African Theatre. Ed. Gwyneth Henderson. London: Heinemann, 1973. (Th)

Tambari and Tambari in Dukana. Lonogon: Longman, 1973. (J)

"Crux of "The Trouble..."". The Guardian (22 January 1983). (Cm)

"On Federal Character". The Guardian (22 January 1985). (Cm)

Songs in a Time of War. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1985. (CtP)

Sozaboy: A Novel Written in Rotten English. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1985. (N)

"Singing for a Merchant Bank". The Guardian (31 Augusth 1985). (Cm)

"The Other Side of Human Rights". Vanguard (24 December 1985): 13. (Cm)

Dakolo Missed The Paint. The Guardian (7 February 1986). (Cm)

"Wrong on "Basi and Company"". The Guardian (23 March 1986). (Cm)

"Mbadiwe's Bellytics". The Guardian (7 June 1986). (Cm)

A Forest of Flowers. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1986. (CtSt)

"Awo and State Creation". The Guardian (4 & 6 July 1987). (Cm)

"Use and Abuse of the Derivation Fund". Nigerian Tide (14 August 1987): 10. (Cm)

"No Prejudice Against Igbos". The Guardian (27 August 1987). (Cm)

Basi and Company: A Modern African Folktale. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1987. (N)

Mr. B. Lagos: Saros Junior Series, 1987. (J)

Prisoners of Jebs. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1988. (N)

Basi and Company: Four Television Plays. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1988. (Th)

"Planting Creative Writing in Schools". Vanguard (1 July 1988): 3. (Cm)

"Wanted: A Tee-Vee Watchdog". National Concord (30 August 1988): 3. (Cm)

"Basi and Company Has Caught the Imagination of Nigerians". The Guardian (5 November 1988): 9. (Cm)

"The Odd, the Odious and Our Very Odia". The Guardian (5 January 1989): 10. (Cm)

"Odia and The Politics of Book Launching". The Guardian (15 January 1989). (Cm)

Mr. B. Again. Lagos: Saros Junior Series, 1989. (J)

Mr. B. Goes to Lagos. Lagos: Saros Junior Series, 1989. (J)

The Transistor Radio. Lagos: Saros Junior Series, 1989. (J)

Adaku and Other Stories. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1989. (CtSt)

Four Farcical Plays. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1989. (CtSt)

On A Darkling Plain: An Account of the Nigerian Civil War. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1989. (D)

A Shipload of Rice. Lagos: Saros Junior Series, 1990. (J)

Segi Finds the Radio. Lagos: Saros Junior Series, 1990. (J)

Mr. B. Is Dead! Lagos: Saros Junior Series, 1990. (J)

Nigeria: The Brink of Disaster. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1990. (E)

Ogoni Folktales. Written with Doris Akeekue. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1990. (CtSt)

Pita Dumbrok's Prison. Lagos: Saros Star Series, 1990. (N)

Secondary Sources

Amuta, Chidi. "Literature of the Nigerian Civil War". In Drama and Theatre in Nigeria: A Critical Source Book. Ed. Yemi Ogunbiyi, Nigeria Magazine, 1981.

Vincent, Theo. "Television Drama in Nigeria: A Critical Assessment". In Mass Communication, Culture and Society in West Africa. Ed. Frank Ugboajah. Munich: Ilans Zell Publishers, 1985.

O'Toole, Thomas. " Songs in a Time of War ". ABPR 12. 2 (1986).

Feuser, Wilfried. "The Voice from Dukana: Ken Saro-Wiwa" Matatu 1. 2 (1987): 52-66.

Mair, Christian. "The New Englishes as a Basis for Stylistic Innovation in the New English Literature. Ken Saro-Wiwa's Sozaboy: A Novel Written in Rotten English". The New Literatures in English. Conference Proceedings. University of Giessen, June 1989.

Fiofori, Ferdinand. "Saro-Wiwa Satirizes Africa's malaise". Africa Today 36. 2 (August 1989): 24-25.

Zabus, Chantai. "Ken Saro-Wiwa's Sozaboy: Pidgin In Vitro". In The African Palimpsest. Amsterdam & Atlanta: Rodopi, 1991, 174-81.


Okafor, Basil. "Basi and Company goes International: Series Creator Ken Saro-Wiwa Speaks on His Works". Sunday Times (18 October 1987): 20; (25 October 1987): 20; (1 November 1987): 20.

Anonymous. "Interview with Ken Saro-Wiwa". Quality 2.8 (15 December 1988): 36-38; 41-44.

Anonymous. "The People's Entire Mentality Should Change, Says Saro-Wiwa". Probe (29 December 1988): 50-52.

Anonymous. "Interview: Our Country Is Anti-Art". Topnews 1. 29 (11-17 January 1989): 12-14.

Anonymous. "Interview: Literary Novels Give Only Fame". This Week (30 January 1989).

Anonymous. "To Cheer and Challenge". African Concord (27 February 1989): 20.

Afejuku, Tony. "Ken Saro-Wiwa Bares His Mind". The Observer (15 July 1989): 13; (22 July 1989): 13; (29 July 1989); (12 August 1989); (19 August 1989): 12.

Anonymous. "Interview: Ken Saro-Wiwa". Daily Times (29 July 1989): 20; (12 August 1989): 20.

Literary Journalism

Barrett, Lindsay. "Nigeria's Pain". West Africa (4 November 1985).

Udenwa, Chuzzy. "Songs in a Time of War". The Guardian (25 November 1985).

Okute, Pita. "A 'Soldier' Comes Home In Style". Vanguard 6 & 7 (February 1986).

Birch, Helen. "Civil Wars". City Limits (February 1986).

Wordsworth, Christopher. 'A Grand Tour'. The Guardian (U.K.) (27 February 1986).

Udenwa, Chuzzy. "Sozaboy: Another Kick in the Backside of English Language", The Guardian (31 March 1986): 11.

Moss, Robert. 'Rotten Nihilism', Africa Events (April 1986).

Anonymous. "Out of Africa", The Voice (17 May 1986).

Oni, Sanya. "Sozaboy: Death Within, Death Without", National Concord (19 June 1986): 5.

Kitchener, Julie. "A Novel in Rotten English", Nigerian Tribune (25 June 1986).

Hough, Graham. "Afro-Fictions", London Review of Books (3 July 1986).

Maja-Peace, Adewale. "Do It Yourself", New Statesman (11 July 1986).

Igwe, Dimgba. "Ken Saro-Wiwa: Laughing Ignorance Out of Court", Sunday Concord (31 August 1986): 8.

Anonymous. "Of Writers and Writing", ANA Review (1986): 5.

Awoyinfa, Michael. "A Forest of Flowers", Sunday Concord (12 October 1986).

Ikioda, Solomon. "Grammar of War", This Week (8 December 1986).

Ogbuanoh, Josey. "Death by the Dozens", This Week (8 December 1986).

Irele, Abiola. "The Fiction of Ken Saro-Wiwa", The Guardian (17 January 1987 & 24 January 1987): 13.

Oyortey, Zagba. "Songs in a Time of War", Africa Events (Jan./Feb. 1987): 94.

Duodu, Cameron. "The Fine Art of Rotten English", South (March 1987).

Odugbemi, Sina. 'The Tales of Saro-Wiwa', Vanguard (5 March 1987).

Ambakederemo, Senior. "Songs in a Time of Peace?" Nigerian Tide (11 March 1987).

Fiofori, Tam. "Faces and Voices of War", Times International (16 March 1987).

Anonymous. "Nigerians Are Vulgar, Says Ken Saro-Wiwa". Prime People (3 April 1987): 44.

Ekeledo, Sam. "Controversies of the New Englishes". Vanguard (18 June 1987).

Anyaegbunam, Ngozi. "The Writings of Ken Saro-Wiwa". Nigerian Chronicle (9 September 1987).

Eruwe, Iyantse. "Time to Reflect". The African Guardian (1 October 1987).

Anonymous. ""Basi and Company" Creator Explores New Theme". The Guardian Express (3 October 1987).

Anonymous. "The International Year of Ken Saro-Wiwa" Sunday Concord (25 October 1987).

Uzoatu, Uzor Maxim. "Break Your Ribs". This Week (7 December 1987).

Odugbemi, Sina. "Saro-Wiwa Threatens your Ribcage". Vanguard (9 December 1987).

Fiofori, Tam. "Abhorence of Rottenness". West Africa (14 December 1987).

Anonymous. "The Past and Future — Where Are They Now?" Sunday Tide (27 January 1988).

Iloegbunam, Chuks. "Sermon from Basi and Company". Newswartch 7. 6 (8 February 1988).

Ohaeto, Ezenwa. "Fictive Realization of Saro-Wiwa's Basi and Company". The Guardian (8 February 1988).

Anyaegbunam, Ngozi. "Ken Saro-Wiwa's Tales of a Trickster". Chronicle Weekend (27 February 1988): 7.

Dudun, Joe. "Folktale Revisited". Punch (18 May 1988).

Omajemite, Obukokwe. "Basi and Company: A Modern African Folktale ". New Nigerian (27 June 1988).

Anonymous. "The Sky's the Limit". The Observer (U.K.) 10 July 1988.

R.F.W. "Ruling Follies". West Africa (18 July 1988).

Kemp, Peter. "Fighting the Sin of Stupidity". The Sunday Times (U.K.) (31 July 1988): 6.

Anonymous. "Prisoners of Phobia and Vanity at Jebs". The Guardian (1 August 1988).

Meier, Didi. "The Man Inside Mr Basi". New African (October 1988).

Anonymous. "Travelling with Ken Saro-Wiwa". Airport (September 1988): 50

Anonymous. "Nigeria's Future Bleak". Sunday Tide (27 November 1988).

Anonymous. "The Arts of Ken Saro-Wiwa". The Democrat Weekly (27 November 1988): 9.

Dudun, Joe. "Brandishing Sareasm". Punch (3 December 1988): 9.

Ojo, Damilola. "Saro-Wiwa, a Sad and Funny Guy". Daily Times (3 December 1988): 12.

Obiegwu, Kodilinye. "The Pains of Laughter". Times International (5 December 1988): 33.

Anonymous. "Morning Yet in Jeb's Prison". Champion (7 December 1988).

Onyebadi, Uche. "Prisoners of Jebs: A Worthy Contribution to the Literary World". Topnews (6-13 December 1988).

Okezic, Emmanuel. "Animals in a Circus". Vanguard (13 December 1988).

Bello, Remi. "Why I wrote Prisoners of Jebs: Ken Saro-Wiwa". Vanguard (14 December 198) 8: 7.

Ojo, Damilola. "Mirror of Our Time". Daily Times (14 December 1988).

Omoifo, Isi. "Humour as Mask". African Guardian (19 December 1988): 36.

Vincent, Theo. "The Mirror of Our Times". Daily Times (23 December 1988): 13.

Obiegwu, Kodilinye. "Let's Launch This Book". Times International (26 December 1988): 34.

Fiofori, Tam. "Prisoners of Jebs: Jolting the Readers". Nigerian Tide (11 January 1989): 7.

Ofeimum, Odia. "Saros Sour Logic". The Guardian (11 January 1989).

Ofeimum, Odia. "Steak for Prisoners of Jebs". The Guardian (14 January 1989): 13.

Obijiofor, Levi. "Writers Against Writers". The Guardian (14 January 1989).

Aligbi, Idang. "Saro-Wiwa: 120 minutes of Critical X-Ray". Sunday Concord (15 January 1989).

Omoniyi, Yemisi. "The Caustic Message in Prisoners of Jebs". Sunday Concord (15 January 1989).

Akeh, Afem. "Nigeria the Unbeautiful". The Guardian (22 January 1989).

Anonymous. "Prisoners of Jebs". Contemporary Review 'February 1989): 220.

Anonymous. "Saros Productions: So Far So Good". Nigerian Tide (11 February 1989).

Anonymous. "Saro-Wiwa Defends Use of English". Daily Times (6 May 1989): 9.

Anyaegbunam, Ngozi. "Book Launch, Not Fund Raising". Champion (12 May 1989).

Anonymous. "A Sad Commentary on National Life". Sunday Time (14 May 1989): 1253.

Amirize, Bright. "Of Prisoners, Jebs and Nigerians". Nigerian Tide (June 1989).

Anonymous. "Prisoners of Jebs". Third World Quarterly (July 1989): 8.

Gibbs, James. "Nigerian Sitcom". West Africa (31 July - 6 August 1989).


Professor at the Literatures in English Unit, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium). She is the author of The African Palimpsest (Amsterdam & Atlanta: Rodopi, 1991) and of numerous articles in the field of postcolonial literatures, language and orality, and Women's Studies. She is currently working on a book on Postcolonial, Postmodern and Postpatriarchal Rewritings of "The Tempest"

© Presses universitaires François-Rabelais, 1996

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