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Episode 47 - Ben Okri

Ben Okri is deep y'all. I so enjoyed talking to him about his short story collection, Prayer for the Living, and about being a thoughtful, careful, and close reader.

Ben was born in Minna, Nigeria and split his childhood between there and London where I recently caught up with him by phone to discuss his collection, which was released in the UK last fall and will be published in the US in February.

In November, he will be taking part in the first all-virtual Miami Book Fair.

The stories in Ben's collection take place all over the world. The collection is a wild ride from Lagos, to London, and the Andes. Some of the stories are akin to flash fiction. Some would be classified as magical realism. But they're all thought provoking. His subject matter varies from stories about atrocities committed by Boko Haram, to a sinister doll house, a man obsessed with Byzantium, and a detective who works solely on intuition and his ability to interact with alternative realities.

Ben has written 11 novels, including The Famished Road, which won the Booker Prize. He's also published four short story collections, four essay collections, and four volumes of poetry.

But I'm ashamed to say I hadn't read him before Prayer for the Living. Trust that I will be rectifying that soon.

Interview Highlights:

Ben reveals...

- why he doesn't write for quick readers

- what he gets out of writing really short fiction, including "stokus," a literary form he created that's a cross between the short story and the haiku

- why he thinks the real pleasure of reading is re-reading

Click here to listen to the episode. You can also help Ben and ReadMore by purchasing the book here.

We'll send a free copy of Prayer for the Living to the first listener to reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook to tell us the Toni Morrison novel Ben says he's re-reading these days.

If you have a won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you are ineligible for this giveaway. Or, if you and I ever caught the school bus together on Mial Street, you're probably ineligible. ReadMore does not have a friends and family plan! But we'll always have those special C-Town memories.


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