Biyi Bandele


Biyi Bandele is a Nigerian novelist, playwright and filmmaker. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and prolific Nigerian writers, having turned his hand to theatre, journalism, television, film and radio, as well as the fiction with which he made his name. He lives in London, where he moved in 1990.

Son of a veteran soldier, he spent the first 18 years of his life in northern Nigeria. He had early ambitions to be a writer and won a short-story competition 14 years old.

He studied drama at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and won the International Student Play-script competition of 1989 with an unpublished play, Rain, before claiming the 1990 British Council Lagos Award for an unpublished collection of poems. 

As a playwright, Bandele has worked for the stage with the Royal Court Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and elsewhere, as well as writing radio drama and screenplays for television.

His novels include The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond (1991), The Street (1999) and Burma Boy (2007).

His directorial film debut, Half of a Yellow Sun was selected to be screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, and received a "rapturous reception.” His second film, Fifty, was included in the 2015 London Film Festival. He also directed the third season of popular MTV drama series, Shuga.