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Italian Inspirations #5. Ben Okri on Italo Calvino



Italian Inspirations #5. Ben Okri on Italo Calvino

“Italian Inspirations” is a series of eight encounters in which a prominent British or UK-based author talks about an Italian writer – either classic or contemporary – whose work they especially admire. Curated and moderated by Boyd Tonkin, each event will take the shape of an informal conversation about the ways in which writers read, and respond to, their great precursors or their distinguished contemporaries.

After Hanif Kureishi, Sarah Dunant, Lisa Appignanesi and Aamer Hussein, guest of the fifth encounter will be Ben Okri, talking about Italo Calvino’s works.

Next events will follow on Wednesdays 20th September, 4th and 18th October.


Ben Okri is a Nigerian poet and novelist. He is considered one of the foremost African authors in the post-modern and post-colonial traditions. He grew up in London before returning to Nigeria with his family in 1968, leaving then the country when a grant from the Nigerian government enabled him to read Comparative Literature at Essex University in England.
Much of his early fiction explores the political violence that he witnessed at first hand during the civil war in Nigeria. In 1991 Okri was awarded the Booker Prize for Fiction for his novel The Famished Road (making him the youngest ever winner of the prize), which also won the Premio Grinzane Cavour in 1994. Set in a Nigerian village, this is the first in a trilogy of novels which tell the story of Azaro, a spirit child. Azaro’s narrative is continued in Songs of Enchantment (1993) and Infinite Riches (1998). Ben Okri was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2001.

Boyd Tonkin is literary critic for the Financial Times, Economist and Spectator, and former literary editor of The Independent. He is a special advisor to the Booker International Prize for which he was also chair of the judges in the 2016.



Date: Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Time: From 7:00 pm To 9:00 pm

Organized by : ICI

Entry : Free