Biyi Bandele was born to Yoruba parents in Kafanchan, northern Nigeria in 1967.
His father was a veteran of the Burma Campaign while Nigeria was still part of the British Empire.
Bandele spent the first 18 years of his life in the northern part of the country being most at home in the Hausa cultural tradition. Later on, he moved to Lagos, then studied drama at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife-Ife, and moved to London in 1990.
He has written several plays, and worked with the Royal Court Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as writing radio drama and screenplays for television.
In 1997 he adapted Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart for the stage, and in 1999 wrote a new adaptation of Aphra Benn's Oroonoko.
His acclaimed "personal" novel Burma Boy (2007) tells the story of Nigerians that fought in the Second World War for the British as part of the Burma campaign of 1944, inspired by his father's participation; Burma Boy is dedicated to his memory.