Cheikh Hamidou Kane was born in 1928 in Mataru in Senegal. Having started at a Koranic school he eventually went to read philosophy and law at the University of Paris before training as an administrator at the Ecole Nationale de la France d'Outre-Mer. He returned to Senegal in 1959 and has become in turn the Director of the Department of Economic Planning and Development, Governor of the Region of Thies and Commissioner of Planning in Mamadou Dia's government. He has worked for UNICEF in Lagos and Abidjan. L'Aventure Ambigue was published by Juillard in 1961 and won the 1962 Grand Prix Litteraire de l'Afrique Noir.
Wole Soyinka was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State of Nigeria on July 13, 1934. He attended Government College and University College in Ibadan before receiving a degree in English from the University of Leeds in England in 1958. He has held research and teaching appointments at several universities including the University of Ibadan, the University of Ife, Cornell University, Emory University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Loyola Marymount. He is a distinguished playwright, poet, novelist, essayist, social critic, political activist, and literary scholar. His plays include The Swamp Dwellers, The Lion and the Jewel, A Dance of the Forests, The Bacchae of Euripides, A Play for Giants, Death and the King's Horsemen, From Zia with Love, The Beatification of Area Boy, and King Baabu. His collections of poetry include Idanre and Other Poems, A Shuttle in the Crypt, and Mandela's Earth and Other Poems. His novels include The Interpreters, which won the 1968 Jock Campbell Literary Award, and Season of Anomy. His autobiographical works include Ake: The Years of Childhood, Isara: A Voyage Around Essay, The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Memoir of the Nigerian Crisis, and You Must Set Forth at Dawn. His literary essays collections include Myth, Literature and the African World and Art, Dialogue and Outrage. During the civil war in Nigeria, he appealed for cease-fire in an article. Accused of treason, he was held in solitary confinement for 22 months. Two of his works, The Man Died: Prison Notes of Wole Soyinka and Poems from Prison, were secretly written on toilet paper and smuggled out of prison. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.