Ben Okri

Ben Okri

A Nigerian storyteller and poet who has been internationally recognised with several awards. Many of his works explore the violence he witnessed during his country´s civil war.

Poet and novelist born in 1959 in Minna, located in northern Nigeria. He was raised in London prior to returning to his native country with his family in 1968. He studied at the University of Essex (England) after earning a scholarship from the Nigerian government. In the 1980s, he worked as a poetry editor for West Africa magazine and as a radio announcer for the BBC World Service in a programme titled Network Africa. He has had many achievements, such as becoming a member of the Royal Society of Literature in 1987, or being named a Fellow Commoner in Art at Cambridge´s Trinity College in 1991, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Westminster (1997) and University of Essex (2002). He has also held the position of vice president at the PEN International Portuguese Centre, and he has formed part of the Royal National Theatre´s Board of Directors. He currently resides in London.

His first two novels, Flowers and Shadows (1980) and The Landscapes Within (1981), take place in Nigeria, where the protagonists are two young people who fight to give meaning to the disintegration and the chaos that exists in both of their families and in their nation. The next two works, Incidents at the Shrine (1986) and Stars of the New Curfew (1988), are set in Lagos and London. In 1991, Okri received the Booker Award for his fictional novel titled The Famished Road (1991), the first part of a trilogy that would also include Songs of Enchantment (1993) and Infinite Riches (1998). Other works by him include Astonishing the Gods (1995), which won the Palmi Award (Italy) in 2000, Dangerous Love (1996), In Arcadia (2002), Starbook (2007) and Tales of Freedom (2009). One cannot forget his poetry collection, an epic poem, a collection of essays, and a play.

 

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