Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Fagunwa, D O

(1900/1903-1963) Nigerian teacher and writer, the most popular Nigerian writer of the 1940s-60s. Although DOF's fantasy novels, written in Yoruba, look like somewhat disorganized Fairytales, they are not juveniles. Most of his fantastic adventures are – unlike those of other African fantasists like Amos Tutuola – based not on Yoruba folklore but on fresh inventions.

Fagunwa's major work, Ogboju ode ninu igbo irunmale (1938; trans Wole Soyinka as The Forest of a Thousand Daemons 1968), tells of a brave hunter who undertakes, on the orders of a king, a dangerous expedition to a deep Forest full of supernatural beings. There he fights various Spirits and Ghosts, and even falls in love with a beautiful Witch. Loosely connected volumes, similar in style and content, are Igbó Olódumare ["The Jungle of the Almighty"] (1949) and Irinkerindo ninu igbó Elégbeje ["Wanderings in the Forest of Elégbeje"] (1954).

Less popular fantastic works are Ireké oníbudó ["The Cane of the Guardian"] (1949) and Adiitu Olódumare ["The Secret of the Almighty"] (1961); in the latter the realistic elements take over from the fantastic. A few short stories were published in Asayan itan ["Selected Stories"] (coll 1959). [JO]

see also: Black African Fantasy.

Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.