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Ben Okri

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

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  • Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide.

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  • I was going to be a scientist.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Politics is the art of the possible; creativity is the art of the impossible.

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  • 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.

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

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

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

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

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  • You see, I was told stories, we were all told stories as kids in Nigeria. We had to tell stories that would keep one another interested, and you weren't allowed to tell stories that everybody else knew. You had to dream up new ones.

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  • Our time here is magic! It's the only space you have to realize whatever it is that is beautiful, whatever is true, whatever is great, whatever is potential, whatever is rare, whatever is unique, in. It's the only space.

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  • The acknowledged legislators of the world take the world as given. They dislike mysteries, for mysteries cannot be coded, or legislated, and wonder cannot be made into law. And so these legislators police the accepted frontiers of things.

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  • The greatest religions convert the world through stories.

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

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  • 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.

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