Nigerian novelist Biyi Bandele has died

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Novelist, playwright and filmmaker, Biyi bandagedis dead.

A statement released by his family on Monday said he died in Lagos on Sunday.

He was 54 years old.

Temi Bandele, the deceased’s daughter who released the statement on behalf of the family, described him as “a prodigiously talented writer and filmmaker, as well as a loyal friend and beloved father”.

“He was a storyteller to the core, with unflinching perspective, a singular voice and a wisdom that spoke boldly through all his art, in poetry, novels, plays and on screen. He told stories that had a profound impact and inspired many around the world, and his legacy will live on through his work.

“He was taken from us far too soon. He had already said so much with so much beauty, and had so much more to say.

“We ask everyone to please respect the privacy of their family and friends as we mourn their loss,” the statement read.

Biyi was born in Kafanchan, Kaduna State to parents from Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He studied drama at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile Ife, when he won the BBC playwriting competition, then moved to England where he had a flourishing career as a writer.

He was a dedicated artist with a strong passion for life and a string of successes in his career as a writer and filmmaker. His latest work is Elesin Oba, the King’s Horseman (2022), which he adapted from Wole Soyinka’s classic drama Death & The King’s Horseman, and directed for EbonyLife Films. The film has yet to be released but is set to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF, in September.

He previously co-directed Blood Sisters, a 4-part Netflix original TV drama series, also for EbonyLife Films. His earlier works include Half of a yellow sun (Shareman Media & State Films, 2013) adapted from the novel of the same title by Chimamanda Adichie; Fifty (Ebony Films, 2015). He was also the director of the hit television series SHUGA: What’s Your Reality. He directed FELA – Father of Afrobeat (2018), a special TV documentary for the BBC; and his self-produced television documentary, Africa States of Independence (2010).

His fiction and non-fiction work includes The Street, Burma Boy, a novel, a recreation of the story of his father and other World War II veterans, who served in Burma, India, on which he was working on to be adapted for Film. His other writing works include The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond, The Sympathetic Undertaker and Yoruba Boy Running, which he recently concluded and submitted for publication.

Biyi was a devoted father to his son, Korede and daughter, Temi.


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