Ben Okri

(b. 1959)

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(1959– ),

Nigerian‐born novelist and poet, educated at Urhobo College, Warri, and the University of Essex. His first two novels, Flowers and Shadows (1980) and The Landscapes Within (1981), were followed in 1991 by The Famished Road (Booker Prize), a large, poetic, colourful novel narrated by a ‘spirit child’, Azaro, which blends myth, harsh contemporary reality, and a strong and epic sense of African place. Songs of Enchantment (1993) and Infinite Riches (1998) are sequels. A further novel, In Arcadia, appeared in 2002. Other prose works include the mythic Astonishing the Gods (1995) and the more realistic Dangerous Love (1996), and two collections of short stories: Incidents at the Shrine (1986) and Stars of the New Curfew (1989). An African Elegy (1992) is a collection of poetry. Okri is known for his political and social concerns as well as for his distinctively glowing prose, often composed of short, light, arresting sentences, which move from closely observed detail to the visionary and strange.

Subjects: Literature.

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