Okri - Sunday Times UK

1. To poison a nation, poison its stories. A demoralised nation tells demoralised stories to itself. Beware of the storytellers who are not fully conscious of the importance of their gifts, and who are irresponsible in the application of their art.

2. The greatest religions convert the world through stories.

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

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

5. The mystery of storytelling is the miracle of a single living seed which can populate whole acres of human minds.

6. It should be clear by now that it is you, great readers of the world, who are at the root of the storyteller’s complex joy.

7. Storytellers ought not to 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.

9. 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.

10. Some people say when we are born we’re born into stories. I say we’re also born from stories. 

 

Ben Okri is a Nigerian novelist living in London. His 1991 novel, the Famished Road, won the Booker Prize. 

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