Conversations with Ben Okri
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.