Ben Okri Quotes

Creativity is the art of the impossible

We have not yet arrived but every point at which we stop requires a re-definition of our destination.

The best writing is not about the writer the best writing is absolutely not about the writer it's about us it's about the reader.

To anyone who is homeless I say find a home.

The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create to overcome to endure to transform to love and to be greater than our suffering.

Who knows maybe this whole planet is an asylum a penal realm. A place for hard cases.

The strange thing about Africa is how past present and future come together in a kind of rough jazz if you like.

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

Reading like writing is a creative act. If readers only bring a narrow range of themselves to the book then they'll only see their narrow range reflected in it.

Reading is an act of civilization; it's one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles of possibilities.

Beware of the stories you read or tell; subtly at night beneath the waters of consciousness they are altering your world.

I study people all the time. For some reason we're not very good at seeing what's there or hearing what we're hearing.

When I write a poem I go into a state of self-forgetfulness and something higher takes over; I like to call it my best self.

Stories can conquer fear you know. They can make the heart bigger.

Don't neglect the gold in your own back yard.

One of the greatest gifts my father gave me - unintentionally - was witnessing the courage with which he bore adversity.

Home can be the friend you have been searching for all your life or the person you met once very briefly.

I went to London because for me it was the home of literature. I went there because of Dickens and Shakespeare.

There ought to be three traditions in the art of humanity: the realistic the visionary and the wild.

A man's greatest battles are the ones he fights within himself.

People are as healthy and confident as the stories they tell themselves.

I know that human beings are capable of anything.

Some of my reactions are very Nigerian. I still believe that words are things.

I am not fighting for success just to get more beauty out of myself and share it with more people.

Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.

Don't despair too much if you see beautiful things destroyed if you see them perish. Because the best things are always growing in secret.

When you can imagine you begin to create and when you begin to create you realize that you can create a world that you prefer to live in rather than a world that you're suffering in.

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

When chaos is the god of an era clamorous music is the deity's chief instrument.

Don't read what everyone else is reading. Check them out later cautiously.

Fire is one of my temperaments. It is behind all my work... Fire is a chemical presence.

To see the madness and yet walk a perfect silver line. ... That's what the true story-teller should be: a great guide a clear mind who can walk a silver line in hell or madness.

The greatest religions convert the world through stories.

If we are true if we can love if we have vision if we can have courage we can we should we ought to we will...

Ghetto-dwellers are the great fantasists. There was an extraordinary vibrancy there an imaginative life. When you are that poor all you've got left is your belief in the imagination.

a dream can be the highest point of a life

We can redream this world and make the dream come real. Human beings are gods hidden from themselves.

The magician and the politician have much in common: they both have to draw our attention away from what they are really doing.

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

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.

Destiny plans a different route and fulfills the dream in ways we couldn't have expected.

An inner darkness is darker than an outer darkness.

A man must be able to hold his drink because drunkenness is sometimes necessary in this difficult life.

I began my writing life as a poet so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories to novels. But poetry was always there.

I held you in the square And felt the evening Re-order itself around Your smile.

What you see is what you make. What you see in a people is what you eventually create in them.

Painters ought to be mute. Speech is the enemy of expression.

We are living in enchanted time. With our spirits right.

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.

The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to tell.

I lived rough by my wits was homeless lived on the streets lived on friends' floors was happy was miserable.

The higher the artist the fewer the gestures. The fewer the tools the greater the imagination. The greater the will the greater the secret failure.

I'm fascinated by the mysterious element that runs through our lives. Everyone is looking out of the world through their emotion and history. Nobody has an absolute reality.

The law is simple. Every experience is repeated or suffered till you experience it properly and fully the first time.

I was going to be a scientist.

When you stop inventing reality then you see things as they really are.

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

Maybe there are only three kinds of stories: those we live those we tell and those that help our souls fly upwards to a greater life.

This is what you must be like. Grow wherever life puts you down.

You cannot come to a Nigerian restaurant without having pepper soup.

Wholeness is the enemy of the artist. We ought to be broken ruined in some way.

Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals and nations live by and tell themselves and you change the individuals and nations.

Artists and writers have to deal with the element that makes the real real and the dream real while you are dreaming it. That's where stories and poems get their power.

To sustain your belief through situations that completely undermine it is quite something.