Presentation by Ben Okri. To look with eyes of wonder

20 May 2019 at the CCCB (Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture)
Conferencia de Ben Okri. Mirar con ojos de fascinación. El 20 de mayo de 2019 en el CCCB (Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona)

Casa África is collaborating with the CCCB (Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture) in order to offer this talk by Ben Okri, Nigerian poet and author, who will reflect on the need to renew the way we look at the world.

Where is the border between the real world, dreams and fables? For writer and poet Ben Okri, heir to the rich cultural tradition of his native Nigeria, these thresholds may not be as evident as they might initially appear to be. Okri encourages us to rediscover the primeval gaze that will allow us to appreciate the world in all its dimensions, both the most immediate reality and the mystery that runs through it.

This uncontaminated gaze, characteristic of childhood, observes the world with fascination, senses more possibilities than seem evident and questions the established limits. For Okri, this open and powerful gaze is what allows us not only to imagine the world we want, but also to transform it.

Ben Okri is a poet and writer and is considered to be one of today’s leading literary voices of African origin. Born in Nigeria, Okri spent his early years in London before returning to his native country with his family where he experienced the outbreak of the civil war.

Both the armed conflict and Nigerian cultural imagination have marked his poetic, narrative and journalistic work, which he developed in a range of communications media including the BBC World Service. In 1991, Okri became the youngest winner of the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Famished Road (El camino hambriento - La otra orilla, 2008), the first of a trilogy completed by Songs of Enchantment (Canciones del encantmiento - La otra orilla, 2008) and Infinite Riches (Riquezas infinitas - El Cobre, 2009).

Okri’s narrative is characterised by a style that has been compared to magical realism and in which the convulsive Nigerian socio-political reality converges with the spiritual world of the ancestors. His poetry and essays include A Way of Being Free (Head of Zeus, 2015), A Time for New Dreams (Ebury, 2011) and An African Elegy (Vintage Books, 1997), in which he defends the need to reforge African identity.

Okri holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Westminster (1997), Essex (2002) and Exeter (2004); has been awarded an OBE and is currently Vice President of the English section of PEN International.

Information:

  • What? Talk by Ben Okri, Nigerian poet and writer
  • Where? at the CCCB (Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona) Montalegre, 5 - 08001 Barcelona. Tel. 933 064 100 Fax 933 064 101 info@cccb.org
  • When? 20 May 2019 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm 
  • Entry: €3. Free for friends of the CCCB, the unemployed, holders of the Generalitat’s teaching card and retired people holding the Tarjeta Rosa. Tickets can be bought from the CCCB box office / taquilles@cccb.org / 933 064 100 / ticketea.com
  • Language: the talk will be in Catalan and English and has a simultaneous English - Catalan translation service.

 
 
 
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