Kole Omotoso Biography
(1943– ), The Edifice, The Combat, Fella's Choice, Just Before Dawn
Nigerian novelist, dramatist, and critic, born in Akure, educated at the Universities of Ibadan and Edinburgh. His early novels are characterized by a cool, unsentimental lucidity of style which belies the remorseless approach of tragedy: The Edifice (1971) concerns the slow disintegration of the marriage between Dele, a Nigerian overseas student, and Daisy, an English girl, when he takes her to Nigeria; The Combat (1972) is a parable of the Nigerian Civil War, focusing on two brothers engaged in futile conflict. Omotoso has described his Fella's Choice (1974) as the first Nigerian detective novel. Just Before Dawn (1988), a Nigerian tragedy, has been described as his finest novel and compared, in its ‘historical’ sweep', to Midnight's Children. Miracles and Other Stories (1973) contains grim, realistic tales about children. His plays, The Curse (1976) and The Scales (1976), are satirical and focus on the inequalities in Nigerian society; his most powerful drama is the four-act Shadows on the Horizon (1977), subtitled ‘a play about the combustibility of private property’. Critical works include The Form of the African Novel (1979) and The Theatrical into Theatre: A Study of Drama and Theatre in the English-Speaking Caribbean (1982), and Achebe or Soyinka? A Reinterpretation and a Study in Contrasts (1995).