Ben Okri  

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Ben Okri (born on March 15, 1959) is a Nigerian poet and novelist. Having spent his early childhood in London, he and his family returned to Nigeria in 1968. He later came back to England, embarking on studies at the University of Essex. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of Westminster (1997) and the University of Essex (2002), and was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2001.

Since he published his first novel, Flowers and Shadows (1980), Okri has risen to an international acclaim, and he is often described as one of Africa's greatest writers. His best known work, The Famished Road, was awarded the 1991 Booker Prize. He has also won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, and was given a Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

He has also been described as a magic realist, although he has shrugged off that tag. His first-hand experiences of civil war in Nigeria are said to have inspired many of his works. He writes about both the mundane and the metaphysical, the individual and the collective, drawing the reader into a world with vivid descriptions.

Okri is a Vice-President of the English Centre for the International PEN, an association of writers with 130 branches in over 100 countries. He is also a member of the United Kingdom's Royal National Theatre. He lives in London.

After taking a 5 year break, Ben's eleventh book, Starbook was published by Rider.



  • Flowers and Shadows (novel); Longman, 1980
  • The Landscapes Within (novel); Longman, 1981
  • Incidents at the Shrine (novel); Heinemann, 1986
  • Stars of the New Curfew (short stories); Secker & Warburg, 1988
  • The Famished Road (novel); Cape, 1991
  • An African Elegy (poetry); Cape, 1992
  • Songs of Enchantment (novel); Cape, 1993
  • Astonishing the Gods (novel); Phoenix House, 1995
  • Birds of Heaven; Orion, 1995
  • Dangerous Love (novel); Phoenix House, 1996
  • A Way of Being Free (essays); Phoenix House, 1997
  • Infinite Riches (novel); Phoenix House, 1998
  • Mental Fight (poetry); Phoenix House, 1999
  • In Arcadia (novel); Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2002

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