Student reading lists: Ken Saro-Wiwa

Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was one of the Ogoni nine, hanged in 1995 along with eight others by the Nigerian government for his continued protest against treatment of the Ogoni people. His death caused international outrage and sparked the banning of Nigeria from the Commonwealth of Nations for over three years. Since his trial and execution, Saro-Wiwa has become a pillar of free expression and many of his letters and short stories have been published in Index on Censorship, along with pieces about his life’s work. Most recently his son, Ken Saro-Wiwa Junior, published  “A letter from Ken Saro-Wiwa” on the 20th anniversary of his death. This reading list groups together a collection of these works.

Students and academics can browse the Index magazine archive in thousands of university libraries via Sage Journals.

Student reading lists

Censorship in the arts
Comedy and censorship
Journalism and censorship
Ken Saro-Wiwa
Minority groups and censorship
Threats to academic freedom
About the student reading lists
Technology and censorship

Silence on campus: How a Turkish historian got death threats for writing an exam question by Kaya Genç

Ken Saro-Wiwa articles

Ordeal by Innocence by Adam Newey and Ken Saro-Wiwa

Adam Newey and Ken Saro-Wiwa, November 1995; vol. 24, 6: pp. 164-166

Written while Saro-Wiwa was still on trial, Adam Newey writes about how many believe that he will be found guilty and sentenced to death. This is followed by an extract from a statement that Saro-Wiwa was prevented from reading out in court.

Corpses have grown by Ken Saro-Wiwa

Ken Saro-Wiwa, September 1997; vol. 26, 5: pp. 81-82

Taken from Saro-Wiwa’s collection, Songs in a Time of War

The new beggars by Ken Saro-Wiwa

Ken Saro-Wiwa, November 1996; vol. 25, 6: pp. 79-86

A short story based on Saro-Wiwa’s experience with one of the “new” types of beggars, those who tell touching stories in order to get money

Eyewitness by William Boyd

William Boyd on Ken Saro-Wiwa, December 2010; vol. 39, 4: pp. 93-96

British novelist William Boyd writes about his friendship with Saro-Wiwa and the international attention his cause gained in the 1990s

Letter to My Father by Ken Saro-Wiwa

Ken Saro-Wiwa, November 2005; vol. 34, 4: pp. 24-29

On the tenth anniversary of his father’s murder, Ken Saro-Wiwa Junior recalls events and reflects on what has (and has not) changed

The murderers in our midst by Adewale Maja-Pearce

Adewale Maja-Pearce, January 1996; vol. 25, 1: pp. 57-61

A detailed account of Saro-Wiwa’s execution alongside responses to Nelson Mandela’s call for Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth

When knowledge is not enough by “Editorial”

Editorial, January 1996; vol. 25, 1: pp. 3

A short mention of Saro-Wiwa’s execution, and how publicity and knowledge of the volatility of the conflict was not enough to save the Ogoni nine

Letters- Blaming the victim by Ike Okonta

Ike Okonta, November 1997; vol. 26, 6: pp. 8-10

A letter focusing specifically on the role of Shell in Nigeria

Portrait of a Year by Caroline Moorhead

Caroline Moorhead, March 1996; vol. 25, 2: pp. 188-192

A look at Human Right’s Watch’s “authoritative and impressive” report on violations carried out by Shell in Nigeria

The Ken Saro-Wiwa reading list can be found here