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Tutuola, Amos

palm wine tradition yoruba

(Nigerian, 1920–97)

The Palm-Wine Drinkard (1952), Tutuola's most celebrated work, adopts the story-telling tradition of the Yoruba people to create a magical and fantastical tale. Following the death of the palm-wine tapster, the protagonist, (with an insatiable thirst for palm-wine) sets out on a mythical journey to rescue him from limbo. Among many feats he narrowly escapes death, rescues a woman, and on returning home, relieves a famine with a magic egg. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1954) is a bewitching and imaginative tale describing a young man's journey in the land of the dead. Tutuola's ability to translate the Yoruba oral tradition onto the printed page makes his story-telling unique.

Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ben Okri  EW

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