Biyi Bandele

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Biyi Bandele (actually Bandele-Thomas) was born in 1967 in northern Nigeria, a region which is largely Muslim. He stems from a family, which belonged to the Yoruba tribe and converted to Christianity. He left his parents’ house at the age of 14 to earn his living doing odd jobs, while also going to school. At this time he had already started work on his first novel.
Bandele studied Drama at the University of Ile-Ife from 1987 to 1990. With his theater piece ´Rain´ he won the first prize in a competition, a scholarship for a one-year stay in London. Bandele-Thomas remained in London to work as a freelance writer and has since then written a quick succession of texts: narrative prose, poetry, radio plays, screenplays, and theater pieces. He has received various awards, including the London New Play Festival Award (1994) and has accepted invitations to go on reading tours, attend conferences, and see performances of his pieces in the U.S. and Canada as well as in various countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Since 1993 he has primarily published his work under the name Biyi Bandele.

His first novel ´The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond´ was published in London in 1991 and in the same year in Germany under the title ´Bozo David Hurensohn´. It depicts a shrill and realistic panorama of modern Nigeria. The novel’s first-person narrator, Lakemfa, befriends his teacher who initially seems a bit odd. This teacher not only shares his own past with Lakemfa, but gives him a manuscript to read, which is about Bozo, whose real name is David, only called ´bastard´ by his father. Although at the end both stories prove themselves to be fiction, they trigger a process of change and maturing in Lakemfa. At the same time Bozo stands for a country, which following a war and a fatal oil boom is in a state of upheaval. Daily school life, omnipresent violence also in the family, tension between urban bustle and rural life – Bandele transposes all of that in a language that is rich in imagery and not lastly humorous. His elaborate narrative technique, his wealth of language as well as his rich fantasy, which always adds surprising surrealistic twists to his plots, have repeatedly caused critics to draw parallels with representatives of magic realism, like his fellow countryman Ben Okri. Bandele lives in London.
Author: International Festival of Literature Berlin (ilb)

Works

The King´s Rifle

Published Written,
2009
Harper Paperbacks

Burma Boy

Published Written,
2007
Jonathan Cape: London

Brixton Stories and Happy Birthday, Mister Deka D

Published Written,
2001
Methuen: London

The Street

Published Written,
2000
Picador: London

Oroonoko: Aphra Behn´s Oroonoko: In a New Adaptation by Biyi Bandele-Thomas

Published Written,
1999
Amber Lane Press: London

Death Catches the Hunter

Published Written,
1995
Amber Lane Press: Charlbury

Resurrections in the Season of the Longest Drought

Published Written,
1994
Amber Lane Press: Oxford

Two Horseman

Published Written,
1994
Amber Lane Press: Oxford

Marching for Fausa

Published Written,
1993
Amber Lane Press: Oxford

The Sympathetic Undertaker and Other Dreams

Published Written,
1991
Bellew Publishing: London

The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond

Published Written,
1991
Heinemann: Oxford

Www

Official homepage of the author

International Festival of Literature Berlin