If you are working in an office, where do you find the time to write a novel? But you can finish a short story in five pages. Furthermore, a short story is a perfect place to learn the craft.

Ben Okri

Ben Okri

Profession: Poet
Nationality: Nigerian

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There was a long silence as we swam around in the strange currents of Dad's words.

Storytellers ought not be too tame. They ought to be wild creatures who function adequately in society. They are best in disguise. If they lose all their wildness, they cannot give us the truest joys.

If we could be pure dancers in spirit we would never be afraid to love, and we would love with strength and wisdom.

Without stories we would go mad. Life would lose its moorings or lose its orientations. even in silence we are living our stories.

If I don't say the thought right I might destroy it.

We are victims of censorship within when we do not let ourselves think the thoughts which our flesh recoils from, or let conscience speak that which the heart feels to be unacceptable, or when we give ourselves excellent reasons for not participating in this grand drama of our interconnected lives.

To anyone who is homeless, I say, find a home.

I believe in leavening. You can't have words sticking out too much, like promontories. They disturb the density. You have to flatten them, or raise the surrounding terrain.

A tolerable hell is better than an impossible heaven.

The worst time was 1983. Love and life and everything went wrong. I reached absolute rock bottom. I saw the Minotaur at the bottom of the abyss. I learnt of the harshness of the world and its impartiality to human failure.

I learned that life will go through changes - up and down and up again. It's what life does.

We have fallen into this very mean description of humanity. Naturalism in fiction is too reductive in its definition of human beings.

We ought to step out of our old, hard casing. We think that we are one kind of people, when in fact we are always creating ourselves. We are not fixed. We are constantly becoming, constantly coming into being.

It is easier to get lost within sight of the palace. [...] Hope makes all things near, and so can prove treacherous.