Quotes by Ben Okri

Ghetto-dwellers are the great fantasists. There was an extraordinary vibrancy there, an imaginative life. When you are that poor, all you've got left is your belief in the imagination.
– Ben Okri
I don't think I can make people understand what my writing is about. That really belongs to time and the individual.
– Ben Okri
I lived rough, by my wits, was homeless, lived on the streets, lived on friends' floors, was happy, was miserable.
– Ben Okri
I was going to be a scientist.
– 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
Literature doesn't have a country. Shakespeare is an African writer. His Falstaff, for example, is very African in his appetite for life, his largeness of spirit. The characters of Turgenev are ghetto dwellers. Dickens' characters are Nigerians.
– Ben Okri
Our time here is magic! It's the only space you have to realize whatever it is that is beautiful, whatever is true, whatever is great, whatever is potential, whatever is rare, whatever is unique, in. It's the only space.
– Ben Okri
Reading, like writing, is a creative act. If readers only bring a narrow range of themselves to the book, then they'll only see their narrow range reflected in it.
– Ben Okri
We have fallen into this very mean description of humanity. Naturalism in fiction is too reductive in its definition of human beings.
– 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 strange thing about Africa is how past, present and future come together in a kind of rough jazz, if you like.
– Ben Okri
The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.
– 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
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
Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.
– Ben Okri
Politics is the art of the possible creativity is the art of the impossible.
– Ben Okri
One of the greatest gifts my father gave me - unintentionally - was witnessing the courage with which he bore adversity. We had a bit of a rollercoaster life with some really challenging financial periods. He was always unshaken, completely tranquil, the same ebullient, laughing, jovial man.
– Ben Okri
Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.
– Ben Okri
I'm conscious of a series of circles working its way through my life. And at this particular moment I have come round to the beginning of my writing cycle. It begins with poetry. There's hardly a day that goes past on which I don't write poetry.
– 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