Ben Okri

Born in 1959, Ben Okri is a Nigerian poet and novelist. After spending his early childhood in England, he moved with his family back to Nigeria. At the end of the 1970s he returned to the United Kingdom to study comparative literature at the University of Essex. Today, he lives and works in London. His works have been translated into more than twenty languages and his passion for poetry goes hand in hand with his social and political engagement. Having experienced the civil war in his country at first hand, Ben Okri has never ceased to denounce the corruption and military power that hold sway there.

Ben Okri achieved international recognition in 1991, whe he won the Booker Prize with his novel The Famished Road. Earlier, he published Flowers and Shadows (1980), his acclaimed first novel. He is also the author of Astonishing the Gods (1995) and Tales of Freedom (2010). To date he has published ten novels, three books of short stories, two collections of essays and three volumes of poems, the most recent being Wild (2012).

In tandem with literature, Ben Okri also pursues an artistic career and was in fact a painter before devoting himself to poetry. His deep-rooted connection with the realm of the visual arts finds expression in his writings. Two of his novels are about artists, including Starbook (2007), which tells the tale of a prince and a maiden belonging to an artistic tribal community. Many of his poems are about painting and its makers. His latest novel is The Age of Magic (2014).