Ben Okri

Poet, Novelist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Anthologist, Aphorist and Playwright

BEN OKRI is a poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer, anthologist, aphorist, and playwright who has won many national and international prizes such as “the Booker Prize for Fiction.” He has also written film scripts and obtained many honorary doctorates for his contribution to Literature. His writing work is focused mostly on the perception of reality.

Ben was born in Nigeria, but his family moved to England when he was a child. He attended school in London and returned to Nigeria with his parents during the Nigerian Civil War. Holding ambition of becoming a scientist and studying physics, Ben completed his secondary school education. But that time, he was too young to go to university. One night, he went to his father’s library and realized his true passion. After that, he decided to become a writer, so he began writing at a very early age. He wrote poetry and then published articles and essays about the living conditions of the poor in the slums of Lagos. He wrote short stories that became his first novel, ‘Flowers and Shadows.

Ben returned to London in 1978 and went to Essex University to gain higher education in Comparative Literature. After two years, he published his first novel and, in 1982 second novel named “The Landscapes Within.” In London, he had to go through a hard time during which he faced homelessness. Fortunately, he was awarded a prize for his ‘Incidents at the Shrine, ’ a collection of stories. For his second collection, ‘Stars of the new Curfew,’ Ben was recognized as a powerful new voice. It helps him enhanced his reputation. In the same year, his creation “Famished Road” won the Booker Prize. He became the first Booker Prize winner who went straight to number one in the paperback bestseller lists.

This novel has been the most influential since it was published. Radiohead took inspiration for his Street Spirit from Famished Road. Recently, it became one of the novels cited in an episode of American Dad. It is considered a great inspiration for paintings, music, classical music, plays, films, and dances. It has now been re-issued as a Vintage Classic.

Ben Okri has also served as a fellow commoner in creative arts at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was also a Visiting Professor of Literature at Leicester University.

BOOKS by Ben Okri

  • Flowers and Shadows
  • The Landscapes Within
  • The Famished Road
  • Songs of Enchantment
  • Astonishing the Gods
  • Dangerous Love
  • Infinite Riches
  • In Arcadia
  • Starbook
  • The Age of Magic
  • The Freedom Artist


  • Incidents at the Shrine
  • Stars of the New Curfew
  • An African Elegy
  • Birds of Heaven
  • A Way of Being Free
  • Mental Fight
  • Tales of Freedom
  • A Time for New Dreams
  • Wild
  • The Magic Lamp
  • Rise Like Lions

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