Wole Soyinka was born in Nigeria in 1934 when the country was still a British dominion. He was raised in an Anglican household that was influenced by both Christian beliefs and the indigenous Yoruba traditions. While still in school, Soyinka won prizes for his literary compositions and showed great promise as a burgeoning writer. He moved to England in 1954 to continue his studies and began writing stage plays before returning to his homeland just before Nigeria achieved independence in 1960. A staunch critic of the new government, Soyinka was imprisoned for two years after a civil war erupted in 1966. His prolific career as a poet, playwright and essayist culminated in the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, the first time the honour had been bestowed on an author of African descent.