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Ben Okri

A poet and writer, he is considered to be one of Africa’s leading literary voices. Born in Nigeria, Ben Okri spent his early years in London before returning to Nigeria with his family, after which the civil war broke out. Armed conflict and the Nigerian cultural imaginary have marked his poetic, fictional, and journalistic writings. In the latter case, he has worked with the BBC World Service in particular. In 1991 he became the youngest writer ever to win the Man Booker Prize with his novel The Famished Road (in Spanish, El camino hambriento, La otra orilla, 2008), the first book in a trilogy which was followed by Songs of Enchantment (in Spanish, Canciones del encantamiento, La otra orilla, 2008), and Infinite Riches (in Spanish, Riquezas infinitas, El Cobre, 2009). Okri’s fiction, characterised by a style that has been compared with magic realism, mixes the turbulent sociopolitical reality of Nigeria with the spiritual world of the ancestors. Notable among his poetic work and essays are A Way of Being Free (Head of Zeus, 2015), A Time for New Dreams (Ebury, 2011) and An African Elegy (Vintage Books, 1997), all of them works in which he stresses the need to reforge the African identity. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Literature by the universities of Westminster (1997), Essex (2002), and Exeter (2004), as well as the Order of the British Empire (OBE). He is currently vice-president of the English section of PEN International.

Update: 26 March 2019



Has participated in

Lecture by Ben Okri

Broken Dreams. Africa 1960-2010

Lectures and Screenings