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Ben Okri Booker Prize-winning novel 'The Famished Road' is 25!

Yaaay! 1992 Booker Prize-winning novel 'The Famished Road' written by Nigerian author Ben Okri is 25 this year.

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Yaaay! 1992 Booker Prize-winning novel 'The Famished Road' written by Nigerian author Ben Okri is 25 this year.

Published in 1991, The Famished Road is described as one of the best books published in the 90's.

Ben Okri play

Ben Okri

Okri’s poetic prose and magical stories capitalises on the African's abundant belief in the spiritual world, or supernatural, to tell his stories, presenting the reader with a cascade of fantastic images and challenging descriptions.

Although, labelled as magical realism, the novel employs a unique narrative style incorporating the beautiful journey of Azaro, an abiku or spirit child, with the "real" world.

Booker Prize-winning novel 'The Famished Road' is 25! play

Booker Prize-winning novel 'The Famished Road' is 25!

(Brittle Paper)

 

In celebration of the novel’s silver jubilee, Vintage has issued a special anniversary edition of the novel.

The Guardian shared an extract of the introduction—written by Okri— to the new edition. As usual, the essay is written in a beautiful poetic style.

Booker Prize-winning novel 'The Famished Road' is 25! play

Booker Prize-winning novel 'The Famished Road' is 25!

 

Okri reflects on the experiences that inspired the novel and that saw him through the long and arduous writing process. He talks about being poor and having to interrupt his writing. All through the years he drafted the novel, it kept him going and served as some kind of intellectual companion.

Read the extract here:

"The Famished Road is fed by the dreams of literature. I devoured the world, through art, politics, literature, films and music, in order to find the elixir of its tone. Then it became a perpetual story into which flowed the great seas of African dreams, myths and fables of the world, known and unknown. I made up stories in the matrix of the ancestral mode. Many people read these stories and assume they belong to the oral tradition, but I had always believed that it is an artist’s function to enrich the oral tradition with stories of our own, inventions of our own, inspired by the tales we heard in the moonlight, sitting in a circle. But even in that the tone is the thing.

The Famished Road by Ben Okri play

The Famished Road by Ben Okri

But it was as a child that I began the book, with innocence and simplicity of heart. With the rich history of literature turning in my mind, I would disappear into the writing of the novel as into a dream. It was as if I sensed there was a book there, in the archetypal margins of the numinous world that existed already in the spirit realm; my task was to bring it here, as one lowering intact a perfect vision.

Dancers’ limbs twist and thread in this highly atmospheric conclusion to an elemental trilogy that veers between the airy and the grounded

The novel was written to give myself reasons to live. Often the wonder of living fades from us, obscured by a thousand things. I wanted to look at life afresh and anew and I sought a story that would give me the right vantage point."

Happy silver jubilee to The Famished Road!

READ: 12 Timeless quotes from Ben Okri's 'The Famished Road'

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