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Ben Okri – awards, biography, books written, education, family, big talk

Ben Okri is a Nigerian. He is also a poet and novelist. He is one of the prime authors in Africa that emerged after colonial rule.


Ben Okri is a native of Urhobo and was born to the family of Silver and Grace Okri on 15th March 1959 in Minna, Nigeria. He was less than two (2) years old when the father moved the family to London.


He is married to an ex-Nollywood actress, Victoria Inyama, who later accused him of domestic violence and adultery. They have three (3) children together.


He is a Writer and writes fiction, essays and poetry. He had an intuition that poetry is his line of course and he started writing on social and political matters which were never published. He eventually based on that to write short stories which were published in evening papers and women’s journals. He served as Poetry Editor of West Africa magazine between 1983 and 1986.

Books Written

  • Flowers and Shadows – 1980
  • The Famished Road – 1991
  • Songs of Enchantment – 1993
  • Infinite Riches – 1998
  • Starbook – 2007
  • A Time for New Dreams – 2011


  • Commonwealth Writers Prize – 1987
  • Prize for Fiction – 1987
  • Guardian Fiction Prize – 1988
  • Booker Prize – 1991
  • Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts – 1991 to 1993
  • Premio Grinzane Cavour – 1994
  • Crystal Award – 1995
  • Honorary Doctorate of Literature Award – 1997
  • Premio Palmi – 1999
  • Honorary Doctorate of Literature Award – 2002
  • Chosen as one of the 100 Great Black Britons – 2003
  • Honorary Doctor of Literature Award – 2004
  • Honorary Doctorate of Utopia Award – 2009
  • Honorary Doctorate Award of School by Oriental and African Studies – 2010
  • Honorary Doctorate of Arts – 2010
  • Honorary Fellow – 2014


Ben Okri had his primary school in Peckham and was later moved back to Nigeria by his father in 1966. He attended Urhobo College at Warri in 1968 and was the youngest in his class.

At the age of 14, he wanted to study Physics in a short university program but was denied admission due to his age and lack of qualifications. In 1978, Ben Okri relocated back to England to study comparative literature at Essex University through a grant given by the Nigerian government.

Big talk

In Ted Talk, Ben Okri unveiled his mind on the principle and connotation of stories. He talked about two great stories: public and secret stories. Public stories are the stories about us we want the public to know about, like your career, achievements, etc. While secret stories are the ones embedded in our subconscious.