Ben Okri (1958– ) is a Nigerian-born British novelist and poet. Ben Okri has published eight novels, including the Booker-winner The Famished Road (1991) and Starbook, as well as collections of poetry, short stories and essays. All of his work, whether poetry or prose, is distinguished by a visionary imagism that speaks to ordinary lives in Britain today, yet also touches universal keynotes, love, loss, friendship, personal and historical pain, and the sources of our contemporary inspiration. Many of his poems, including ‘Mental Fight’ and ‘Wild’, express at once prophetic power but also extraordinary simplicity, human vulnerability and tenderness. Okri captured attention across Britain in June 2017 with his moving and justifiably angry epic-lament for the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, ‘Grenfell Tower, June, 2017’.
Ben Okri is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been awarded the OBE in Britain as well as numerous international prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and the Chianti Rufino-Antico Fattore. He is a Vice-President of the English Centre of International PEN and was presented with a Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. An honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford, he holds honorary doctorates from several universities, including SOAS and Essex. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages.
—Elleke Boehmer, 2017
Cite this: Boehmer, Elleke. “Ben Okri.” Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds, 2017, https://writersmakeworlds.com/ben-okri/. Accessed 16 October 2017.