Ben Okri

Sir Ben Okri is a poet, playwright, and novelist. Among his many accomplishments, he has published Booker Prize winner The Famished Road, and Astonishing the Gods, which was selected as one of the BBC’s ‘100 novels that shaped our world.’ In 2018 he adapted Camus’ ‘The Outsider’ for The Coronet Theatre to much critical acclaim, which won The Offies Award for Best Theatre Production. His most recent works include the novel The Freedom Artist, a volume of short stories, Prayer for the Living, his latest book of poems, A Fire in My Head, and his environmental fable for all ages, Every Leaf a Hallelujah.

He has published eleven novels, including Starbook, The Age of Magic, and Dangerous Love, four books of short stories, two collections of essays, and three volumes of poems. He has invented a new form of storytelling called the ”Stoku”, which is a cross between the short story and the haiku. His works have been translated into 27 languages. He has been a Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was awarded an OBE in 2001.

Ben Okri’s books have won numerous international Prizes including the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Africa, the Paris Review Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the Chianti Ruffino-Antico Fattore International Literary Prize, and the Premio Grinzane Cavour Prize.

The recipient of many honorary doctorates, he is a vice-president of the English Centre of International PEN and was presented the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum for his outstanding contribution to the Arts and to cross-cultural understanding.

He wrote the script for Peter Krüger’s film N: The Madness of Reason, which won the 2015 Ensor Award for Best Film.

In 2020, his play, ‘Madame Sosotris,’ was performed to full houses at the Pulloff Theatres in Lausanne, Switzerland.

His recent play, Changing Destiny, at the Young Vic ran from July to August 2021.

A new theater adaptation of The Famished Road, will run at The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, from April 22nd to May 2022.

He is an honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford. He was born in Nigeria, and lives in London.

The US edition of Astonishing the Gods was published by Other Press in March 2022. A reworking of Starbook, newly titled The Last Gift of the Master Artists was published by Head of Zeus in August 2022.

Ben's new book, Tiger Work, a collection of stories, essays, and poems about climate change, will be published by Head of Zeus on 6 July 2023.

In 2023 Ben Okri was knighted for services to Literature.

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