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.
The Books Interview: Ben Okri - `Great Art Tries to Get Us to the Place of True Enchantment' ; Ben Okri's Latest Novel-of-Ideas Goes in Search of Arcadia: The Place That Gives Life Meaning. Judith Palmer Joins the Shaman of Modern British Fiction for a Magical Mystery Tour
Sep 07, 2002; "LET ME serve you," Ben Okri offers chivalrously, every time there's a question he wishes to evade. A spoonful of crispy seaweed...