• Birth—March 15, 1959
• Where—Lagos, Nigeria
• Reared—London, England and Nigeria
• Education—University of Essex
• Awards—Man Booker Prize, Commonwealth Writers Prize
(African Region), Aga Khan Prize, Crystal Award, fellow of
the Royal Society of Literature, Premio Palmi (from Italy),
International Literary Award Novi Sad (Serbia)
• Currently—lives in London
Ben Okri, OBE (Order of the British Empire), 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 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. Tales of Freedom, a novella and collection of short stories was published in 2009. (From Wikipedia.)
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