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Conversations with Ben Okri

Conversations with Ben Okri

Edited by Vanessa Guignery
Series: Literary Conversations Series

Hardcover : 9781496851550, 246 pages, March 2024
Paperback : 9781496851567, 246 pages, March 2024

Table of contents

Ben Okri
Jane Wilkinson / 1986 and 1990
An Interview with Ben Okri
Pietro Deandrea / 1990 and 1992
An Interview with Ben Okri
Carolyn Newton / 1992
Whisperings of the Gods: An Interview with Ben Okri
Delia Falconer / 1996
An Interview with Ben Okri
Charles H. Rowell / 2005
“The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”: An Interview with Ben Okri
Nana Yaa Mensah / 2008
Points of Enchantment
Sarah Fulford / 2008
Interview with Ben Okri
Rosemary Gray / 2011
Ben Okri: Interview
Saskia Vogel / 2011
The Mysteries of the Word: A Conversation with Ben Okri
Anderson Tepper / 2011
Ben Okri in Conversation
Vanessa Guignery and Catherine Pesso-Miquel / 2012
Painter of Secrets
Anupama Raju / 2012
Lookin Back: James Ogude in Conversation with Ben Okri
James Ogude / 2014
An Interview with Ben Okri
Vanessa Guignery / 2015
Ben Okri Q&A: “I Can’t Live without Good Conversation, Or Love”
New Statesman / 2018
Ben Okri on His “Unavoidably” Political Poems
Ushnota Paul / 2019
Ben Okri Interview: We Can Ascend Mountains
Marc-Christoph Wagner / 2019
The Past Is a Changing Entity
Isabelle Rüf / 2020
“Courage Is a Luxury”
Katrien Steyaert / 2020
Ben Okri on Perception and Illusion
Deborah Treisman / 2021
Ben Okri: “Nations Like Ours Have a Hard Time Looking Back Truthfully”
Dorian Lynskey / 2021
In Conversation with Ben Okri
Rosemary Gray / 2021
“Write with New Urgency”: A Conversation with Ben Okri
Anderson Tepper / 2022
Ben Okri on the Ambiguity of Reality
Deborah Treisman / 2022
Ben Okri or the Aesthetics of Suspicion
Vanessa Guignery / 2022
Ben Okri on Manipulating Reality
Katherine Hu / 2023

Over three decades of interviews with the innovative Nigerian author and first Black African winner of the Booker Prize


Conversations with Ben Okri collects twenty-six interviews that range from 1986 to 2023 and reflect the international resonance of Nigerian writer Ben Okri's work. The reader is given access to the various phases of Okri’s life and career, beginning with his childhood (b. 1959) and upbringing in Nigeria and the publication of his early short stories and novels. The interviews also explore the tremendous success of The Famished Road (for which Okri became the first Black African writer to receive the Booker Prize in 1991) and the dazzling creativity of his subsequent work in a multiplicity of literary genres. The volume offers insight into the writer’s creative process and his unique views on literature, history, memory, politics, freedom, spirituality, and environmental issues. The conversations often veer into fascinating philosophical discussions about the nature of art and reality, the value of myth, and the dynamics of storytelling.

Since the publication of his first novel in 1980, Okri has encouraged his readers to open their minds and eyes to new modes of perceiving reality. Convinced of the universality of art, he has been intent on redreaming the world from a variety of perspectives in poems, essays, short stories, novels, and plays written over a period of more than forty years. Throughout his career, Ben Okri has never stopped experimenting with new forms, creating the stoku (a mixture of short story and haiku), endowing his fictional and nonfictional creations with poetic undertones, and collaborating with visual artists, musicians, and dancers.