Ben Okri OBE is a poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer, and playwright. He is considered to be one of Africa’s leading contemporary writers and someone who has been able to bring the essence of Nigerian storytelling to a global audience. Born in Minna, Nigeria in 1959, Okri spent his early childhood in London before the family moved back to Nigeria where, as an adolescent, Okri witnessed the Nigerian civil war - an experience that would inspire much of his later fiction. He returned to London and, in 1991 Okri won the Booker Prize for Fiction for his magic realist novel The Famished Road. The following year, he published his first poetry collection, An African Elegy. Okri has since published over 20 novels, poetry collections, short story and essay anthologies. His poem, ‘Grenfell Tower’, written after the tower block fire that killed at least 72 people in 2017, illuminated the neglect and class stratification central to the tragedy. His writing, likened to that of William Blake, is typified by dreams, spirits, African folklore, and social and political commentary. Okri was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1997 and his many awards include an OBE in 2001 , the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award, and the Paris Review’s Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Westminster and the University of Essex.