Interview | Ben Okri | Granta Magazine

Ben Okri | Interview

Ben Okri & Saskia Vogel

‘Whenever we use the word beauty or we feel it, it comes from a sense of something indefinable.’

Ben Okri

Ben Okri was born in 1959 in Minna, Nigeria. He published his first novel, Flowers and Shadows in 1980 and his second, The Landscapes Within, in 1982, while studying comparative literature at Essex University. He has worked as a broadcaster for the BBC World Service and was poetry editor of West Africa magazine for seven years. His novel The Famished Road won the Booker Prize in 1991. He has also published essays, short stories, and a collection of poetry. His most recent novel is Starbook, which was followed by a collection of stories Tales of Freedom.

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Saskia Vogel

Saskia Vogel is a writer and translator from Los Angeles, now living in Berlin. Her debut novel Permission was published in five languages. The Swedish edition was translated by Johanne Lykke Holm. Vogel has translated over twenty fiction, poetry, and non-fiction titles from Swedish into English, including works by Linnea Axelsson, Johanne Lykke Holm, Balsam Karam, Karolina Ramqvist, Steve Sem-Sandberg, Lina Wolff and Jessica Schiefauer, whose Girls Lost was a finalist for the PEN Translation Prize. Her translation of Johannes Anyuru’s They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears won the Firecracker Award for fiction. Vogel’s writing has been awarded the Berlin Senate Endowment for Non-German Literature and longlisted for the Believer Book Award and the Pushcart Prize. She was Princeton University’s Fall 2022 Translator in Residence. You can read her work in the New Yorker, LitHub, the New York Times, the White Review, the Offing, Elsewhere and elsewhere. Photograph © Fette Sans

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