Quotes by: Ben Okri

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The best writing is not about the writer, the best writing is absolutely not about the writer, it's about us, it's about the reader.
Ben Okri
When I write a poem, I go into a state of self-forgetfulness, and something higher takes over; I like to call it my best self.
Ben Okri
At the heart of 'The Famished Road' is a philosophical conundrum - for me, an essential one: what is reality? Everybody's reality is subjective; it's conditioned by upbringing, ideas, temperament, religion, what's happened to you.
Ben Okri
The acknowledged legislators of the world take the world as given. They dislike mysteries, for mysteries cannot be coded, or legislated, and wonder cannot be made into law. And so these legislators police the accepted frontiers of things.
Ben Okri
I went to London because, for me, it was the home of literature. I went there because of Dickens and Shakespeare.
Ben Okri
I lived rough, by my wits, was homeless, lived on the streets, lived on friends' floors, was happy, was miserable.
Ben Okri
The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to tell.
Ben Okri
Reading is an act of civilization; it's one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles of possibilities.
Ben Okri
You see, I was told stories, we were all told stories as kids in Nigeria. We had to tell stories that would keep one another interested, and you weren't allowed to tell stories that everybody else knew. You had to dream up new ones.
Ben Okri
The poem is never complete in the mind. It emerges, and then it's like an act of unveiling. The unveiling is the longest and most difficult part of it.
Ben Okri
If you are working in an office, where do you find the time to write a novel? But you can finish a short story in five pages. Furthermore, a short story is a perfect place to learn the craft.
Ben Okri
When you can imagine you begin to create and when you begin to create you realize that you can create a world that you prefer to live in, rather than a world that you're suffering in.
Ben Okri
The strange thing about Africa is how past, present and future come together in a kind of rough jazz, if you like.
Ben Okri
I was born left-handed, but I was made to use my other hand. When I was writing 'Famished Road,' which was very long, I got repetitive stress syndrome. My right wrist collapsed, so I started using my left hand. The prose I wrote with my left hand came out denser, so later on I had to change it.
Ben Okri
'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' had a formative effect on me. I think it's one of those works that if you encounter it very early you're doubly enchanted by the beauty of the language and the strangeness of the vision. It stays with you.
Ben Okri
One of the greatest gifts my father gave me - unintentionally - was witnessing the courage with which he bore adversity.
Ben Okri
The higher the artist, the fewer the gestures. The fewer the tools, the greater the imagination. The greater the will, the greater the secret failure.
Ben Okri
Politics is the art of the possible; creativity is the art of the impossible.
Ben Okri
I study people all the time. For some reason, we're not very good at seeing what's there or hearing what we're hearing.
Ben Okri
I began my writing life as a poet, so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories to novels. But poetry was always there.
Ben Okri
I am one year older than Nigeria at 51. In a human life, 51 might be old. But it is very young for a nation. By that, I mean a Nigeria conscious of itself as a nation.
Ben Okri
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